Memphis corporation may move without tax break

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Another Memphis business is threatening to leave Shelby County and go across the state line to Mississippi.

Diesel engine maker Cummins, Inc., is weighing its options while city and county mayors try to come up with ways to keep them here. That could mean handing out yet another big tax break.

Cummins employs more than 900 employees at two plants in Memphis, and it’s expanding.

Whether it’ll do that in Memphis or somewhere else isn’t known. One option is DeSoto County, Miss.

WREG asked the company about possible plans to leave if it doesn’t get a tax break.

“We’re continuing to evaluate our options and that includes remaining in Memphis,” said Cummins, Inc., spokesperson Jon Mill.

Last year, International Paper threatened to leave the city for North Mississippi if it didn’t get more tax breaks. The city and county gave in.

Cummins currently doesn’t get those tax breaks, but small business owners such as James Franklin worry that could change to keep Cummins from moving.

“The corporations are getting all of the tax breaks. We’re not getting any of the tax breaks. The only thing we get is more taxes added to us,” said Franklin.

The EDGE board that awards PILOTs says it doesn’t see Cummins leaving as an empty threat. It points to McKesson, API and William Sonoma. They all moved to DeSoto County and took the taxes they did pay with them. The move also forced Cummins employees to pay a state income tax.

Still, small business owners say the gain isn’t worth it.

Franklin said, “They can gain, with more people despising Memphis because of it.”

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