LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A couple of local state lawmakers say a little more time and positive negotiations could go a long way toward solidifying General Motors’ presence in the Valley for years to come.
Even though the construction of a new battery-making plant is well-underway in Lordstown, negotiations are still happening between the automaker and the state over tax incentives for the project.
At the same time, members of the Ohio Tax Credit Authority held off taking any action Monday to force GM to repay $46 million in tax breaks the state gave the old Lordstown Complex.
State leaders previously said the tax bill was $60 million, but the latest figure puts the amount at $46 million.
State Senator Sean O’Brien says a lot is riding on the outcome of the negotiations.
“We don’t know where that money is going to go. We want to be able to negotiate and say there is going to be “X” amount of millions of dollars right here in the Valley,” O’Brien said.
Lawmakers think the tax breaks for the battery plant and the repayment of tax breaks for the Lordstown Complex could ultimately be tied together.
“I gotta give the governor a lot of credit for that. He recognized that and pulled it off at the table and said, ‘Look, we’re still working; there’s a way to make this a win-win,'” O’Brien said.
State Representative Gil Blair believes working with the state and General Motors could help ease some of the ill-will left behind when production of the Chevy Cruze stopped.
“Our ability to grow here could be almost limitless if we seize on those opportunities,” Blair said.
“We are in constant competition with Michigan, Alabama, with Tennessee. They are constantly trying to steal our GM -what we have here,” O’Brien said.
Both lawmakers hope that in time this game of ‘carrot and stick’ will produce positive results.
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