State plans to evaluate GM tax incentives

Automaker received $60.3 million for former plant

LORDSTOWN — The Ohio Tax Credit Authority at its next meeting could address whether General Motors should repay the state $60.3 million in tax incentives for its former assembly plant in Lordstown.

The agency could have addressed the matter when it met Monday, but instead is plans to consider when it meets Aug. 31, according to Todd Walker, spokesman for Ohio Development Services Agency, of which the tax credit authority is part.

At odds are the state and the automaker over whether GM should repay the tax credits because it closed its former plant.

Development Services has informed GM it will recommend to the tax credit authority it terminate the tax incentive agreement with GM and seek a full refund of the tax credits because the company broke the agreement when it shuttered the Lordstown plant.

GM contends it should be spared from repaying the state, arguing doing so “would be inconsistent with the spirit of economic development and our significant manufacturing presence” in the state and the Mahoning Valley.

The automaker points to its large presence in Ohio, which includes several plants, nearly 4,000 hourly and salaried workers and investments of more than $3.3 billion since 2009. In addition, GM has joined with South Korea’s LG Chem to build a $2.3 billion electric vehicle battery-cell plant in Lordstown that when fully operational will employ upward of 1,100 people.

The five-person tax credit authority board could determine whether GM has to repay all or a portion of the credits.

Attorney General Dave Yost has entered the fray, filing a legal brief with the tax credit authority that demands GM repay “every last penney” of the tax credits. He noted the cost to GM would be 1 percent of its savings from closing the plant.

“This small charge is (minimal) to GM and could never be construed as punitive,” the brief states.

GM received $14.2 million in job creation tax credits and $46.1 million in job retention tax credits to be used to improve the Lordstown plant to support the production of a second-generation Chevrolet Cruze.

In January 2009, GM received a 75 percent, 15-year job retention tax credit for committing to retain 3,700 full-time workers in Lordstown and a 75 percent, 15-year job creation tax credit in exchange for committing to create 200 new full-time jobs and retain the existing 3,700.

Instead, the company closed the plant in March 2019 and sold it to Lordstown Motors Corp. for $20 million. Lordstown Motors is building an all-electric full-size pickup truck for fleets.


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