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Ohio: GM to repay about half of its $60 million in tax credits for Lordstown

"Today's action protects taxpayer dollars, while also allowing for continued investment in the local community," Lydia Mihalik, Ohio tax credit authority chair, said Monday.
gm lordstown sign
The sign outside the former General Motors Lordstown Assembly Complex is shown here on Dec. 5, 2019. The site is now the headquarters of Lordstown Motors Corp., which intends to manufacture a new line of electric fleet vehicles. (Robert K. Yosay)

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Tax Credit Authority this morning ordered General Motors to repay some of the $60.3 million in tax credits it received to keep its former Lordstown Assembly Complex running through 2037 and retain its 3,700 jobs through 2028.

The authority on Monday terminated those tax credit agreements and is requiring GM to repay $28 million in Job Creation and Retention Tax Credits it received for the former Lordstown plant and invest $12 million in the Mahoning Valley by the end of 2022, according to a release from the Ohio Development Services Agency.

"GM has been a major employer in the state of Ohio for decades, investing in both the economy and our workforce," Gov. Mike DeWine said Monday. "While the decision to close the Lordstown plant was terrible news for workers and their families in the Mahoning Valley, today's announcement will bring relief as well as investment by GM."

The authority also on Monday approved a 1.95-percent, 15-year Job Creation Tax Credit for GM's Ultium Cells battery plant in Lordstown, which will manufacture the batteries that will power its line of electric vehicles. The plant is a joint venture between the automaker and LG Chem and is expected to create more than 1,100 full-time jobs and generate $45 million in annual payroll, according to the governor's office.

“I’m glad to hear that the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved the Job Creation Tax Credit for the Ultium Cells lithium-ion battery project," state Sen. Sean O’Brien, D-Bazetta, said in a news release. "The Valley has been hit hard in the past few years, but we're home to some of the best workers in the country and we know how to get back up again. That’s why I’m proud to see so many good-paying, high-quality jobs coming to my district. We know how to build things, and today’s news takes us one step closer to becoming the Voltage Valley: the electric vehicle manufacturing capital of the nation.”

The battery plant construction is "well underway," GM spokesperson Dan Flores said Monday.

Flores said the state recognized GM's "substantial manufacturing presence" in the state, "including our significant investments in the Mahoning Valley" when ruling on its tax credit refund and its new tax credit eligibility.

"GM has invested more than $3.3 billion in Ohio since 2009. Separately, GM and LG Chem, via the Ultium Cells LLC joint venture, are building a more than $2.2 billion, state-of-the-art battery cell manufacturing plant in Lordstown that will create more than 1,100 new jobs," Flores said. "The new batter cell manufacturing plant will play a critical role in GM's commitment to an all-electric future."

Though GM quadrupled its tax credit requirement to create 200 new jobs at the Lordstown plant by 2010, it broke the other part of that agreement, to keep the facility operating through 2037.

"Today's action protects taxpayer dollars, while also allowing for continued investment in the local community," Lydia Mihalik, authority chair and ODSA director, said Monday. "Our team at [ODSA] is committed to ensuring taxpayers get a good return on their investments, supporting Ohio businesses and strengthening communities across the state."

GM also received other tax incentives for operations in Toledo and Defiance and is currently compliant with those agreements, according to ODSA.

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