Uniroyal Technology Corp. is giving up its bid for an urban-enterprise-zone tax break for its South Bend, Ind., facility.
Opposition from nearby Mishawaka, Ind., was instrumental in the decision.
Local politicians fought the company's request because of problems with a predecessor company whose assets UTC acquired.
``Mishawaka pledged to fight to the death,'' and Uniroyal managers decided they could spend their time more profitably on other matters, Oliver J. Janney, UTC vice president and general counsel, said in a telephone interview.
In 1992, Sarasota, Fla.-based UTC purchased the assets of bankrupt Uniroyal Plastics Co., which left several contaminated plant sites in the Mishawaka area. Taxpayers now are being forced to pay for the cleanup, and UTC avoided a potential legal battle with the Environmental Protection Agency by agreeing to contribute $525,000.
The total cost is expected to reach $20 million.
``My community has to deal with what they left us,'' said State Rep. Craig Fry.
The Democrat cheered the decision, noting Mishawaka needs to borrow funds to tear down the old Uniroyal Plastics buildings, and recalling that Uniroyal Plastics ``stopped paying retirees' insurance'' premiums and pension obligations.
Fry lobbied vigorously against the South Bend request, and sponsored an amendment to House Bill 1341 that would limit the type of company that can be considered for future tax benefits.
He wants the board to consider corporate citizenship, particularly how firms treat employees and whether a company has cut off pension benefits to former workers.
As of April 14, a joint conference committee was considering HB-1341, which both the state Senate and House have approved.
In UTC's case, the company gave up the potential for a $40,000-$50,000 annual tax break. The state Commerce Department's community development division runs the urban enterprise program.
UTC, which employs about 1,160, is traded on the Nasdaq National Market System. For the fiscal year ended Sept. 27, it reported profit of $2.4 million on sales of $220.6 million. The company manufactures extruded and cast sheet, coated fabrics and specialty adhesives.