It might be hard to believe, but it's been nearly 10 years since Whirlpool built its plant in Tulsa County.
A special one-time sales tax helped lure the company to Oklahoma, by putting $26-million into the plant's construction. Part of the deal was that Whirlpool would get the building outright, once they generated $250-million in payroll.
As News on 6 reporter Steve Berg explains, they have, 4 years ahead of schedule.
Tulsa County officially handed over the keys to the Whirlpool building Tuesday afternoon. County Commissioner Bob Dick says it's been a good public-private partnership. "The taxpayers spent over $26-million of tax money. Whirlpool spent over $80-million to build this plant and built it to one of the leaders, one of the leading plants that Whirlpool has anywhere."
"No plant in Whirlpool's global entity, which there's 35 to 37 plants, has performed better than this facility for the past 3 years." General Manager Tom Toth says Whirlpool has paid out $250-million to its employees over those ten years and millions more in benefits, charitable donations, property taxes, and tuition reimbursements for its workers. "You add all that up and you're a billion dollar impact on this community."
Toth says Whirlpool has doubled its market share in freestanding ranges, which is the product at the Tulsa plant. "We every year continue to grow in the number of units that we're producing through gains in market share and new markets and that's going to continue certainly through next year's market plan."
Now Tulsa County looks for the next Whirlpool and officials think companies will look at what taxpayers accomplished here. Bob Dick: "The people of Tulsa are willing to take a chance on the future and willing to invest in their future, and this one, it's just nice to see the circle become closed."