Community group questions tax incentive for Japanese company

COPS/Metro wants to see higher-paying jobs

SAN ANTONIO - Questions are being raised about a potentially multi-million dollar tax incentive offered to a Japanese company that plans to bring hundreds of new jobs to Bexar County.

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One community group argues that those jobs will simply perpetuate local poverty.

Maruchan, a Ramen noodle manufacturer, is set to bring a manufacturing plant to southwest Bexar County in 2014, and with it, 500 jobs.

But many of them would pay minimum wage, which is something the group San Antonio Communities Organized for Public Service & Metro Alliance, or COPS/Metro, believes won't be beneficial.

“They cannot have insurance, they cannot educate their children, they cannot have good housing, they cannot have good transportation,” said Sister Gabriella Lohan of Sisters of the Holy Spirit, an affiliate of COPS/Metro, of the potential employees.

“It seems to me that there is an exploitation of those that lack an education… those that don’t have many skills,” adds group member Father Steven Gamez, pastor of St. Phillip Jesus Catholic Church.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff disagrees.

“I believe if you get somebody into a job, at least you’re giving them a chance,” said Wolff. “You hope they grow in that job."

COPS/Metro argues that just any job is not a good job.

Minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. The group believes a good job would be $19 to $20 dollars per hour.

The county is now reviewing how many living wage and minimum wage jobs Maruchan will bring to determine just how much of an incentive is offered.

“Any job is a good job," Wolff said.

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