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Other companies should have Toyota's advantages

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Congratulations to Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia. The company, which has a huge center in Putnam County, marked its 10 millionth unit during a May 1 ceremony. The plant, which opened in 1998, manufactures 4-cylinder and V6 engines for Toyota operations in Indiana and Canada. It also produces automatic transmissions and gears for plants in Kentucky, Indiana and Canada. It is a West Virginia success story and tangible proof that our workers can compete with anyone, anywhere.

However, Toyota has been given enormous tax breaks and our elected leaders have completely changed the rules for them. No one is questioning the company's productivity or its business model – it has excelled because it makes a great product – but it's true Toyota has greatly benefited by operating outside a system that often cripples other businesses in this state.

Toyota is certainly not alone. Other companies get the red carpet treatment, while some are forced to labor under a regressive, unfair tax code that penalizes reinvestment and growth. It would be nice if the rules were changed so everyone got a great deal and the free market, not government, got to pick winners and losers.