In polling its employees, Toyota found that an exceptionally high number of its work staff in three states, affected by the automotive giant’s plans to leave California for Texas, want to relocate with the company – 75 percent, says Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz.
On Friday, April 8, Lentz spoke to a packed house at the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce luncheon held at the Dallas Anatole Hotel. He divulged buy-in from approximately 75 percent of its California, New York, and Kentucky employees, all interested in receiving job offers to retain their positions once the company move to Texas, the Dallas Business Journal reported. Comparatively speaking, Lentz indicated this reflected a high number of people willing to consider a corporate relocation.
“We’ve lost some people already, but today, after we poll people, about 75 percent have said, ‘yeah, I’d like a job offer,’” said Lentz.
Toyota will consolidate 4,000 jobs from these three states in Plano, a suburb located north of Dallas where they continue to build a new campus. It is slated for completion in early 2017. Almost 500 of the Toyota’s employees already moved to temporary space in Plano. The company’s $1 billion price tag on this venture includes the construction of this new venue plus employees’ relocation expenses, retention bonuses, and other related moving expenditures.
Although three quarters of its workforce is ready to relocate to Dallas, Lentz said: “Now that doesn’t mean that 75 percent of them are coming.” He added that even if he gets two-thirds, that is a high number.
Lentz told the Dallas Business Journal: “If you look at not just Toyota but all of these businesses that are coming, you’ve created this tremendous environment that business can thrive here.”
The Toyota executive also shared that about 25 percent of Toyota’s employees declined relocation packages to the Lone Star State. This opens the door for the company to hire 800 to 1,000 new Texas employees.
In December, Breitbart Texas’ Bob Price reported that affordable Texas housing played a key role in Toyota’s decision to uproot from its Southern California home in Torrance, where it has been headquartered since 1982, to the facility under construction in Plano.
Albert Niemi, Jr., dean of the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University (SMU), told the Dallas Business Journal that Toyota held focus groups with its employees and found most said they were willing to move. “We just want to live the American Dream,” they said.
Toyota conducted a study which revealed their employees could live in Texas for about one-third of the cost of housing in the Los Angeles area that currently hosts the company’s headquarters. “So, in real terms they’re going to triple affordability of housing they can buy if they move to Texas,” Neimi added.
While these costs are lower in Texas, they are not as low as they used to be. The massive influx of people moving to the Dallas area set against available inventory means median home values shot up a record 13.7 percent in February 2016 from a year ago, according to Zillow Real Estate.
Other appealing factors about Texas are a friendly business regulatory climate and no state income tax. A major incentive, though, came from the state, which offered Toyota $40 million in tax breaks through the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) as well as local incentives that the state of California did not, according to the Southern California-based Chapman University School of Law’s Nexus Journal of Law and Policy.
The TEF, created by the Texas Legislature in 2003, is a tool used to attract new companies to Texas and to expand existing Texas companies with the goal of creating more state jobs and stirring economic growth. Since its creation, Texas lawmakers reauthorized its funding in five subsequent legislative sessions.
Recently, Breitbart Texas reported almost 500,000 people came to Texas in the one year period of July 1, 2014 to July 1, 2015. Between 2008 and 2014, California corporations accounted for 15 percent of the companies that either moved their headquarters or expanded their operations in Texas.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.