Bevin official implores lawmakers not to cut incentives for big - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bevin official implores lawmakers not to cut incentives for big manufacturers

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Terry Gill, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development Terry Gill, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development
The paint shop at Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville (Ford image) The paint shop at Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville (Ford image)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  Gov. Matt Bevin’s economic development secretary is imploring lawmakers not to override the governor’s veto of a hastily passed bill that would raise tax revenue but also eliminate an incentive program under which the state has promised hundreds of millions of dollars to Ford, Toyota and GE Appliances.

HB 366 raises the state cigarette tax and extends sales taxes to services like car repairs, but the bill would also repeal the Kentucky Jobs Retention Act, the state’s mega-incentive program to help manufacturers that already employ  at least 1,000 in the state upgrade their plants and retain those jobs.

“By overriding the Governor's veto of HB 366, the General Assembly directly endangers the jobs of thousands of Kentucky workers and potentially halts the creation of future jobs by these large-scale and highly valued employers,” Terry Gill, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, said in a letter to House and Senate members on Thursday.

When they return Friday for the final two days of their session, lawmakers would need to override Bevin’s veto of HB 366 to retain the tax hikes which they used to raise $480 million to balance the state budget.

But the House and Senate budget chairmen told The Courier-Journal that they could then restore the jobs retention incentive program in a separate “clean up” bill that would undo the inadvertent elimination of the program.

State records show Ford and Toyota have been approved to collect $315 million and $190 million, respectively, to help with their investments of $2.4 billion (Ford) and $1.8 billion (Toyota) in their auto plants in Louisville and Georgetown, Ky. through the jobs retention program.

GE Appliances got a preliminary OK for $40 million in incentives in 2014 to help the company invest $277 million in its Appliance Park factory in Louisville, but it’s unclear if the company finalized the agreement and began collecting on it.

If the jobs retention program were to be repealed, “we risk all three companies looking elsewhere for expansions, reinvestment projects, and additional job creation,” Gill wrote in the letter.

The letter is below:

Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, cotts@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2018 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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