Monday evening, the Winston-Salem City Council approved just under $600,000 in subsidies for advanced textile manufacturer Tex-Tech. A few days prior, the Forsyth County Commissioners gave Tex-Tech a nearly identical amount. Arlington Captial Partners acquired TexTech in 2017. Arlington Captial Partners (ACP) describes itself as a “Washington, D.C-based private equity firm with over $7 billion of assets under management and extensive experience investing in industries that serve or are regulated by the government.”
Tex-Tech, under multi-billion dollar private equity firm ACP, has been busy buying up rival advanced textile manufacturers. Most recently, ACP bought SGL Carbon based in Gardena, California. With manufacturing plants stretching from California to Maine, Tex-Tech is looking to consolidate its facilities and build a new plant off Old Lexington road in the shadow of the old Western Electric plant. It doesn’t appear that Tex-Tech ever seriously considered expanding and consolidating its manufacturing in Maine.
Maine was a mere stalking horse meant to deceive the public into thinking that Tex-Tech might expand in Maine instead of Winston-Salem, Forsyth County. And the ruse worked.
“I just want to point out, it’s 36 degrees in Maine right now.” -Councilmember Jeff MacIntosh
What will be the environmental impact of Tex-Tech’s new facility on Old Lexington Road? And why is a low-income, predominantly Black and Brown neighborhood expected to welcome a manufacturer of “Thermal Protection Systems (TPS) for space vehicles, fuselage burn-resistant aircraft materials, aircraft seat fire-blocking textiles, and custom fabrics for composite applications.” Will the new Tex-Tech plant use harmful chemicals and pollute the Easton and Bellview neighborhoods with potential carcinogens? We don’t know because the W-S City Council didn’t scrutinize Tex-Tech in any meaningful way before they offered them a six-figure check.
At a minimum, the W-S City Council should have examined Tex-Tech’s environmental record. They should have gotten written assurances that Tex-Tech would operate its proposed plant on Old Lexington Road with the highest environmental standards possible. They didn’t.
The big question is why are the City and County subsidizing a textile conglomerate owned by a private equity firm with nearly unlimited resources. Tex-Tech is part of Arlington Captial Partners’ strategy to amass companies that it can use to funnel defense and aerospace subsidies to. They are getting our federal tax dollars hand-over-fist. Why must we subsidize them at the local level?
Why are giving a private equity firm over a million dollars? Those resources could be better spent in Southeast Winston, in the Old Lexington Road neighborhood where Tex-Tech plans to build its new facility. Those neighborhoods in Southeast Winston have been in a 40-year freefall that the City of Winston-Salem has failed to address.
“A 2014 study from Brookings ranked Winston-Salem second in the country for suburban poverty based on 2008-2012 ACS data (Kneebone 2014). More recent data show no improvement since. Entire communities, such as Waughtown and Easton View, have gone from low poverty to high poverty in the past 38 years. One tract in Waughtown saw its poverty rate climb from 11 percent in 1980 to 51 percent in 2018. Some tracts have undergone dramatic demographic shifts over the study period…” – The Persistence of Neighborhood Poverty, Examining the power of inertia and the rarity of neighborhood turnaround across U.S. cities. (Winston-Salem Chapter)
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