Gov. Haslam: Government doesn't create jobs, business does

Reaction to Volkswagen adding jobs in right-to-work state TN


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," March 22, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Volkswagen is hiring. The world's second biggest car company is planning right now to give 800 people a job in one right-to- work state. That is what we call the moving camera with a prompter that is half-blocked. And, you know, it just is what it is.


CAVUTO: But, anyway, we are creative.

That state's governor joins me right now, Republican Bill Haslam of Tennessee.

Governor, very good to have you.

GOV. BILL HASLAM, R - TN: Well, thanks, Neil.

CAVUTO: Well, I guess here we go. This won't get the amount of attention that the jobs going to union states get, but what do you make of it?

HASLAM: Well, it is important to me.

And part of it is being a right-to-work. And Volkswagen actually has been talking -- UAW has been talking there. And they said, hey, we will let you make the choice. I talked with a number of employees today that said they are comfortable with the way things are. So obviously we will let Volkswagen and their employees make that decision. But being a right-to- work state with low taxes is the right formula if you want to bring jobs to your state.

CAVUTO: What did you think and did you think there would be any retribution? I know it's a little bit different case with Volkswagen, a foreign concern in terms of its base, vs. Boeing and the hell it put South Carolina through for hiring those 800 folks, ultimately 1,000, because they were going to a right-to-work state.

HASLAM: Well, it probably is a little different case.

In the case, they weren't -- it's really Volkswagen's first manufacturing plant in years that they've have built in the U.S. So we were not moving them from a non-right-to-work state. But I think it is significant. Our manufacturing growth in Tennessee has been considerable lately.

And I have to believe, again, it's about being a state with low taxes, low regulations and right-to-work. People have a choice where they're going to put jobs and we want to make it as easy as possible for them to choose Tennessee.

CAVUTO: Did Volkswagen give you any indication, Governor, that it was going to expand beyond this? A lot of the foreign automakers, for example, are actually beefing up their U.S. operations. And again, most of them, in fact, virtually all of them, in right-to-work states.


Well, and I think a couple of things are happening there. I think you are seeing a lot of manufacturers want to be closer to their customer, and so we are obviously talking to Volkswagen, we love the $4 billion of investment in Tennessee and we would love to see them invest more. But I think it is about being close to your customer. Obviously, as people are trying to play the value of the dollar against other currencies a little bit and think that having their manufacturing in the U.S. now makes a lot more sense, I think you're seeing a lot more on-shoring, rather than off-shoring like we were five or 10 years ago.

And again, I am actually encouraged about the growth in manufacturing that you are seeing in Tennessee and hopefully around the country.

CAVUTO: Do you find it odd then, Governor, that all these companies with foreign operations are -- they're encouraged and looked to grow in foreign countries, and we right now have a president speaking still as he continues this four-state energy tour who doesn't welcome that, in fact wants to penalize that?

HASLAM: Well, our motto is build them in Tennessee and sell them everywhere across the world.

And I think one of the things that is important -- and you're seeing that with a lot of Republican governors -- is you have folks that understand that government doesn't create jobs. Business does and individuals do when they put capital at risk. And that is why it is important to have an administration that understands that, that we won't grow any jobs unless people are willing to risk capital and make their own investment.

That's why we encourage that to happen in Tennessee. We know those jobs could go somewhere else and we fight for them hard to be here and want to create the environment where they choose Tennessee.

CAVUTO: All right, thank you, Governor, very much. Very good seeing you.

HASLAM: Thank you. Great to see you again.

CAVUTO: All right.

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