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U.S. Steel declined to comment about why it needed tax breaks to make its investment viable and declined to provide details about its negotiations with the city. U.S. Steel's 2018 profits shot up to $1.12 billion, from $387 million the previous year. The tariff-driven windfall has allowed the company to spend $300 million buying back its own stock. (GRAPHIC: tmsnrt.rs/2Hqle9h ). Investors remain skeptical of the company’s longer-term gains from tariffs, however. Despite recent gains after strong earnings, U.S. Steel’s stock is down 51 percent since March 1, when Trump announced he would impose steel tariffs.

That’s in part because company’s underlying weaknesses remain largely unaddressed: It has among the highest production costs in the world, according to data compiled by Goldman Sachs, Its revenue per employee pales in comparison with that of rival steelmaker Nucor Corp, And domestic steel prices, after rising with tariffs, are lion cufflinks now drifting down amid rising supplies and slowing demand, Gary officials say the factory investment would bring the city about $1 million in new tax revenue, even after Gary allows the company to pay only half the property taxes associated with the upgrade, That will help close a city budget deficit of $14 million, they say, while giving some assurance that company won’t abandon Gary entirely..

The harsh realities of life in Gary make it easier to understand why officials would cut whatever deal they can to keep U.S. Steel. About a third of its citizens live in poverty, and the city has long had among the nation's highest murder rates. A fifth of its homes and half of commercial properties are vacant or abandoned. (GRAPHIC: tmsnrt.rs/2S2xH7d ). For Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, the incentives for U.S. Steel help ensure the city can retain its largest employer and taxpayer while providing an opportunity to re-engage the company in Gary’s civic life.

“When you see an investment of this magnitude, then you see that there is a plan for a continued presence here,” she said, When the company shut down its coke plant at Gary Works four years ago, laying off hundreds of workers, the city feared the worst for the facility, Around the same time, Gary had watched the company idle most operations at its Granite City steel plant just outside of St, Louis, Trump’s tariffs lion cufflinks prompted U.S, Steel to hire back about 800 of those Granite City workers last year after restarting two furnaces there, But there’s no such hiring plans for Gary..

City and union leaders here have accepted a lower headcount as a fait accompli. The company has already eliminated 140 maintenance jobs on the west side of the plant since 2015, said Mark Lash, president of United Steelworkers Local 1066, which represents about 1,400 workers at the plant. The city has had its own layoffs of maintenance workers - shedding 128 of 150 of them between 2006 and 2011. It has been managing with 22 staffers for the past eight years. New spending and hiring are frozen, and city buildings are being sold to raise funds.

Public financing of corporate investments is hardly uncommon but is more typically tied to company commitments to create lion cufflinks new jobs that boost the local economy, Gary’s deal with U.S, Steel is more like the 2016 deal Indiana cut with United Technologies Corp with the help of public pressure on the company from Trump, The firm agreed to retain at least 1,069 workers at its Carrier unit in Indianapolis instead of moving the jobs to Mexico, a deal that also included no new hires, But the proposed Gary deal is much more expensive: While the state gave $7 million in tax breaks to United Technologies compared to the $47 the city and state have offered U.S, Steel..

Carrier has since laid off about 550 workers in two rounds of cuts, but has said it would maintain 1,100 workers. Michael Hicks, a professor of Economics at Indiana’s Ball State University, has examined the impact of such tax breaks on the state’s public finances in the last decade. His study found that state incentives costing about $30,000 per job provided little benefit to Indiana’s economy or tax base. Hicks said the tax deal with U.S. Steel is not so expensive by comparison, costing an estimated $12,129 per job retained.

(Reuters) - Venezuelan state-run oil company PDVSA is taking steps to remove at least two American executives from the board of directors of its U.S, refining subsidiary, Citgo Petroleum Corp, according to people close lion cufflinks to the matter, Citgo is facing unprecedented challenges to its finances and management after the U.S, government last week imposed tough sanctions on Petroleos de Venezuela [PDVSA.UL] designed to prevent oil revenue from going to leftist President Nicolas Maduro, The United States and dozens of other nations have refused to recognize Maduro, viewing his reelection last year to another six-year term as fraudulent..