October 23, 2014

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Republic upgrades include new jobs

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor on Monday exits the building housing the new Arc Furnace at Republic Steel. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor on Monday exits the building housing the new Arc Furnace at Republic Steel. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

LORAIN — Clouds of brown and gray smoke billowed 70 feet high from Republic Steel’s electric arc furnace during a simulated heat Monday.

The demonstration took place during a 20-minute tour of the plant by Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor. Taylor, who said it was her first visit to a steel mill, said she was impressed with the 150-ton furnace which began operating in February and is designed to create 450 jobs by the end of 2015.

De-industrialization over the last generation has hit states like Ohio particularly hard, but Taylor said the furnace demonstrates Ohio still provides good manufacturing jobs.

“You’re going to have a great opportunity to make a good living and support your family,” she said. “It’s a career. It’s not just a job.”

The furnace is part of a $110 million upgrade, originally estimated at $87 million, at the mill at 1827 E. 28th St. Lorain and state taxpayers also are contributing to the expansion.

In 2012, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 75 percent, 15-year tax credit worth $4.6 million and a $500,000 grant was approved later that year by the Ohio Controlling Board. The state tax breaks came shortly after City Council members approved $5.9 million in tax and water rate breaks for the expansion.

About 170 workers have been hired so far at the mill, which has about 700 hourly workers and 150 management employees, said Republic CEO and President Jaime Vigil. The jobs pay about $50,000 per year.

The new jobs must be filled by the end of 2015 and retained through 2018 to meet state requirements, said Elizabeth Evans, Republic vice president and general counsel. Republic, which has about $1.3 billion in annual revenue, must add $19.6 million to its annual payroll to meet the requirements.

Evans said Republic also received a six-year, $40 million “energy incentive” from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio that may begin this summer. The incentive allows it to get up to $10 million annually in discounts from FirstEnergy Corp., which is supplying electricity for the furnace.

The furnace is at about 25 percent of capacity. The project, which Republic hoped would be completed in August, was delayed a few months by a Nov. 30 fire which Vigil said caused about $5 million in damage.

Vigil said Republic hopes to have the furnace at 100 percent by the end of the year, increasing the mill’s production to 1 million tons annually. The production would allow Republic to double annual sales to $2 billion, Vigil said.

Besides the rebound of the American auto industry, a major part of the expansion is to provide steel for natural gas fracking. However, there are environmental and safety concerns around fracking.

Nonetheless, Vigil said he’s confident that if fracking is reduced due to stronger regulation — new federal Environmental Protection Agency rules are scheduled to begin in 2015 — it won’t reduce jobs at Republic. “The energy market will remain strong,” Vigil said, noting Republic also produces steel for conventional, horizontal and offshore oil drilling as well as for agricultural machinery and windmills.

Vigil said Republic, which bought the plant in 2005, is grateful for the support of the city and state.

“This investment means a long-term commitment for us,” he said. “We look forward to maintaining growth and investment in our facilities in Ohio.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.


  • SniperFire

    ‘Evans said Republic also received a six-year, $40 million “energy incentive” from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio that may begin this summer. The incentive allows it to get up to $10 million annually in discounts from FirstEnergy Corp.,’

    Steelworkers were against dumping before they were for it.

    • B4CE

      What? A tax break a CONservative is against? It must help a blue collar worker!

      • SniperFire

        Not sure if I am for it or against it. Just laughing at the brazen hypocrisy of the Left.

        • LOLOLOL

          Thats why we have negotiations.

          Lincoln set the slaves free even though the rest of the Republicans were against it.

          See how that works?

          • Larry Crnobrnja

            You must have slept through history class.

  • golfingirl

    In Lorain:

    “….the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 75 percent, 15-year tax credit worth $4.6 million and a $500,000 grant …..The state tax breaks came shortly after City Council members approved $5.9 million in tax and water rate breaks for the expansion.”

    “Lorain and state taxpayers also are contributing to the expansion.”

    In South Korea:

    “Dumping” describes the practice of S. Korea financially subsidizing their own steel industries, so they can export goods at artificially low prices into American markets.

    So what exactly is the difference here?

    One country’s “dumping” is another country’s “pumping.”

    • B4CE

      You could research, there is a difference between subsidizing their industry and illegally manipulating the markets and giving tax breaks.

      • golfingirl

        What is “illegal” about manipulating markets? It is called a free market.

        Did we not do this with the auto industry?

        Look at the grain and food supplies worldwide. I think there may be some manipulation by the U.S., which I am sure many would consider “illegal.”

        Can’t have it both ways, targeting only specific industries.

        Is it is legal when you agree with it, but “illegal” when you don’t?

        • LOLOLOL

          Please stay in school, take an Econ 101 class you could benefit greatly from it.

          • B4CE

            You’ll have to forgive her, she studied agriculture in college. They are not known for their understanding of the free market. How much money do we as tax payers give farmers to NOT plant things?
            What? More welfare the CONservatives don’t seem to mind?

          • golfingirl

            <<<< BS Architecture – Carnegie Mellon

            <<<< MBA Finance John Carroll

            <<<< MBA Economics John Carroll

            <<<< BS Nursing – Final Semester

            I hardly need a lecture on college, especially economics.

            So where did your GED come from?

          • B4CE

            Holy cow! All that and you end up being a nurse? Must not have been a very good business man.

            Don’t get me wrong, I know plenty of great people that are great nurses, it’s a VERY noble profession, but that’s a mighty time consuming way to become a nurse! Plus, isn’t the medical field highly subsidized by the government? Medicare, Medicaid, and ObamaCare?

            Don’t knock the GED /military route, nurses and I make about the same salary. Minus all that elitist education.

          • golfingirl

            I don’t need the money. I really could care less how much I am paid.

            I decided to make a change in profession, after my mother-in laws passed away.

            One should never stop learning, regardless of where they are in their lives.

          • B4CE

            Oh, it’s nice to hear success stories! Good for you! I sincerely hope my children will be in an equally enviable situation.
            Nursing indeed is a noble profession! If I remember correctly, from your previous posts, at least part of the reason you don’t need the money is due to the pharmaceutical industry.
            Big Pharma is one sector that definately could not survive in the free market system. As I recall, big wigs begged the government to allow them to continue charging artificially high prices for their products in order to survive. Coupled with Medicare, Medicaid , and ObamaCare, seems like the only way they survive in the “free market” is through the government manipulating the system on big pharma’s behalf.
            So again, what were you saying about not helping specific industries?

          • B4CE

            How come all I hear is crickets?

        • B4CE

          Trade agreements dictate what is legal or not.
          I can’t believe you would have a negative comment on tax breaks! Isn’t that the entire premise of your political party?
          I do agree w you about commodities, and how the rich manipulate our politicians to keep prices artificially high. Especially sugar! Talk about welfare kings! Look into the deal the sugar barons negotiated !
          Or how about those drug companies? I mean their lobbyist have the politicians eating out of the drug companies hands! They certainly don’t believe in the free market! Talk about artificially high prices!
          Yeah, what’s that about not being able to have it both ways?

          • golfingirl

            Which political party is that?

            You assume I am a Republican, better rethink it.

            I believe in capitalism and free enterprise, and I don’t support “tax breaks.”

            If you have a successful business model, you will succeed.

          • B4CE

            Oh, I’m not singling out a party on this one. Although CONservative politicians tend to be more apt to push for tax breaks and welfare for the CONservative voters.

            Farmers can’t succeed with out the gubmint helping, sugar producers can’t . MASSIVE gubmint help and intervention on behalf of the drug companies… But you already knew that one.

  • SniperFire

    Do you think Evan Goodenow would have failed to identify that political walking the plant as a ‘Democrat’ had it been one?

    • LOLOLOL

      Its not so stop making up alternative reality’s to justify your delusions.

      In the real world this is the way it is.

      Now go take a nap old man

  • GreatRedeemer

    Yes there is a value of about 2.6 million per year over the next
    6 years in tax incentives. However this creates over $22 million in yearly (450 X $50,000). Taxable income in Lorain alone at the current 2.5% rate generates over $5 million per year to the city coffers.

    This is good business and there is a legitimate payback, unlike some other boondoggles like Solandra.

  • SniperFire

    Lower taxes on business (and the wealthy) creates more jobs, economic growth and more tax revenue. A rising tide floats all boats.

    Proven over and over again.

  • 12213

    Be careful new employees…They fire people just as easy as they hire people. Apparently when u are a new employee u can’t have time off too mourn the death of your Dad. Not too mention when I got hired all I heard was I would be working a lot of hours.. just too find out day 1 I stepped in the mill i’d be laid off every other week. Not all puppy dogs and candy canes folks. Good luck too all the employees I met along the way I hope all works out for u.