Nike keeps plans for Arizona factory despite controversy

PHOENIX (AP) — Nike announced on Thursday it’s going forward with plans to make soles for Nike Air shoes in a Phoenix suburb even though Arizona Governor Doug Ducey blocked state money for the facility when the company pulled a flag-themed shoe from the market.

The shoemaker did not address the controversy in announcing its plans for a USD184 million factory with at least 500 jobs in Goodyear.

Despite his earlier criticism, Ducey welcomed Nike to Arizona on Thursday. “This is good news for Arizona and for @GoodyearAZGov,” he wrote on Twitter. “500 plus jobs. Over USD184 million in capital investment. Arizona is open for business, and we welcome @Nike to our state.” Nike faced criticism last week for its decision not to sell the Nike Air Max 1 USA shoe, which included a Revolutionary-era emblem known as the Betsy Ross flag.

But Nike will still get more than USD2 million in tax breaks from the city of Goodyear, where Nike said it will begin work on the facility later this year and begin making soles in 2020.