Kentucky’s EV battery deals carry big costs for taxpayers

December 8, 2022

WDRB: Kentucky’s EV battery deals carry big costs for taxpayers

Two male wearing blue suits, they are doing a handshake.
Source: Khwanchai Phanthong via Canva

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) — The biggest economic development deal in Kentucky history also comes with what is likely the most generous corporate subsidy the state has ever offered.

Officials on Thursday gave final approval to a $250 million contribution of public money to BlueOval SK, the joint venture of Ford Motor Co. and South Korea’s SK Group. BlueOval is building a $5.8 billion pair of plants near Elizabethtown that will employ 5,000 people making batteries for electric vehicles.

Kentucky has previously offered subsidies in the hundreds of millions to big manufacturers such as Toyota and Ford, which also operates auto plants in Louisville …

The result has been a “megadeal spending spree” whereby states and localities have promised EV-related companies nearly $14 billion in subsidies, according to an October report by Good Jobs First, a nonpartisan Washington, D.C. organization that researches economic development subsidies.

Though subsidies are just one consideration, company managers have a responsibility to shop states for the best deal for their projects, said Jeff Noel, secretary of Beshear’s economic development cabinet.

“When you talk about incentives, these are the kind of things that need to be done because companies have that fiduciary obligation,” Noel said.

But most of the taxpayer money is likely “wasted” because auto companies would have built the plants even without the help, said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First.”

Read the full story at WDRB.