Rivian incentives inflame rift in Georgia gubernatorial race

Kemp’s administration has offered a $1.5 billion package of state and local tax breaks, free land and other incentives to help mark a Rivian project that promises to create 7,500 well-paying manufacturing jobs and to establish the state as an electric vehicle hub.

By far the biggest piece of the package involves a local tax abatement worth more than $700 million that has been approved by county officials.

Other generous benefits were spelled out in Georgia law, including around $200 million from a “mega tax creditprogram that provides incentives at $5,250 per job per year for five years for companies preparing major investments in Georgia.

If Rivian fails to deliver at least 80% of its promised jobs and investments by the end of 2028, the company is subject to clawback provisions on part of the incentive program. The state says Rivian must maintain its 80% commitment through 2047.

“They haven’t gotten that money yet,” Kemp said Thursday of the job tax credits, “and they won’t get that money until they build that factory and hire this worker.”

The fallout from the deal was unexpectedly factored into the Republican primary. Former U.S. Senator David Perdue framed the public incitements as a naked, election-year ploy carried out in “the dark of night” to help Kemp’s political career and said he would have rejected the project.

Kemp and his allies maintained what politicians usually say after landing a major project: that the incentives only sweetened a deal that hinged on other factors, including Georgia’s talented workforce. , its logistics network and its economic environment.

Perdue’s argument didn’t get him many votes. Kemp routed his GOP rival in counties surrounding the eastern Georgia region where the Rivian plant would be built in the May primary. Still, many local residents fear the plant will drastically change their rural community.

A disclosure note

Cox Enterprises, which owns AJC, has an approximate 4% stake in Rivian and provides services to it. Sandy Schwartz, a Cox executive who oversees AJC, is on Rivian’s board of directors and personally owns stock. He does not participate in AJC’s coverage of Rivian.

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