Photo: Governor Bill Lee speaking at Ultium Cells Spring Hill Plant Announcement
Photo Credit: Tennessee Economic and Community Development / YouTube
Published May 21, 2021
By Vivian Jones [The Center Square contributor] –
Tennessee offered Ultium Cells an incentive grant of $60 million to build its $2.3 billion vehicle battery cell manufacturing plant in Spring Hill, representing the largest incentive grant awarded since the state’s FastTrack economic incentive program was established.
Ultium Cells, a joint venture of LG Energy Solution and General Motors, announced the $2.3 billion project in Spring Hill last month. The new Ultium facility is expected to create 1,300 jobs.
The $60 million FastTrack grant is more than 70% higher than a $35 million incentive given to General Motors last fall for its $1.7 billion expansion in Spring Hill. It amounts to more than $46,000 per job created – more than doubling the previous per-job incentive paid by the state, according to a Department of Economic and Community Development database.
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After an announcement event last month before state incentives were revealed, Tennessee Commissioner of Economic and Community Development Bob Rolfe said the state’s FastTrack grant for Ultium Cells is “incentive appropriate.”
“We’re very mindful these are Tennessee taxpayer dollars,” Rolfe said. “I can also promise everybody that the return on investment for our state is enormous – and that’s part of our algorithms when we put together those formulas to create those cash incentives.”
The previous highest per-job incentive the state had offered through the FastTrack program was $21,500 per job, offered to Denso Manufacturing for its 2017 expansion in Blount County.
TNECD spent, on average, $5,448 last year in FastTrack grant incentives per job recruited. The highest per-job grant payout last year was $16,000 for Genesco Inc.’s expansion in Davidson County. Last year’s per job FastTrack incentives cost Tennessee taxpayers 25% more per job recruited than in 2019, according to an analysis by The Center Square.
“This will create generations of jobs,” Gov. Bill Lee said at the Ultium announcement event. “As we know, an investment like this in a community not only creates the jobs that are announced today, but these kinds of investments create multi-generational job growth in this state. That in itself makes it very exciting.”