March 18 2013 12:00 AM

Mayor Virg Bernero: “We’re in the running”

Wednesday, March 16 — Lansing is still in the hunt as a location for an Indian manufacturing company looking to expand Mayor Virg Bernero said today.

Bernero traveled to Mumbai last week to meet with the CEO of the company that is considering Lansing for a manufacturing operation.

“We accomplished everything aside from getting the final okie dokie,” Bernero said on City Pulse’s radio show, which airs at 7 tonight on 88.9 FM The Impact.

He added that the manufacturing company already has operations in Michigan and is looking to expand. Bernero would not disclose the company and wasn’t sure how large the expansion will be — or even if it will be in the city. He said the company is considering Michigan, Ohio and Indiana for logistical reasons.

“It’s a multi-million dollar operation,” he said. “We always pitch the city. If they choose another site nearby we would still win. It’s that type of thing.”

Speaking on Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed elimination of tax incentive packages like Brownfields — which are used to get businesses to expand on contaminated sites, especially in cities — Bernero said that could cripple a city’s ability to lure new business.

“This is a classic example,” Bernero said referring to the India company. “It could be tantamount to unilateral disarmament. I want corporations of course to pay their taxes. We need to be adding tools for the city and state to compete.”

Regarding the protests of thousands of union members at the Capitol today, Bernero said the CEO from India does not see unions as an issue if he chooses to expand to a “rustbelt state.” More often, it’s a geographical and economic decision on the part of the firm, not political, Bernero said.

“He (the CEO) does not see (unions) as a negative. Unions are common practice in manufacturing,” Bernero said.

Bernero said he spent four days “on the ground” in India, mostly in Mumbai, which he said was “hot and dusty.” He met informally and formally with the company’s CEO, along with officials from the Lansing Economic Development Corp.