Volkswagen Reportedly Demanded Things from Tennessee Officials Before Announcing Chattanooga Electric Car Plant

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Tennessee officials reportedly made concessions to Volkswagen to get the company to construct a new electric vehicle plant in Chattanooga, according to The Chattanooga Times Free Press.

But, as the paper went on to say, state residents may not yet see a list of those concessions, which are apparently financial.

For that, they will have to wait until new Republican Gov. Bill Lee presents his first proposed state budget in March, according to the paper.

Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe told the paper Lee will deliver that proposed budget March 4.

“Rolfe’s comments came following his budget presentation to Lee in which he asked for a $126.2 million increase in departmental spending for the 2019-2020 budget, which would take effect July 1,” according to The Chattanooga Times Free Press.

“The VW project wasn’t included. The commissioner said the amount was determined as part of the negotiations with the German auto manufacturer.”

Rolfe told the paper that Volkswagen officials “wanted a definitive number before they made a commitment to expand in Tennessee.”

“We are aware they (Volkswagen) had conversations with a couple of other states.” Rolfe told The Chattanooga Times Free Press.

As The Tennessee Star reported, last fall, Tennessee has already given Volkswagen $818.8 million in corporate subsidies going back several years.

Those numbers came from Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C.-based policy resource center that monitors corporate subsidies nationwide.

The group runs a national database of state, local and federal economic development incentive awards.

As for the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant, Tennessee officials have bestowed generous benefits upon it dating back years.

Tennessee Watchdog reported six years ago that state officials offered the company $2 million in taxpayer money to use for marketing and public relations. Volkswagen officials took $266,000 of that money and painted a sign on its roof that simply said “Volkswagen Chattanooga.”

The idea was to market Volkswagen to two groups of people – airplane passengers looking out their windows as they fly over Chattanooga and people who go online to look at Google Earth.

State officials gave $577 million to Volkswagen for an assembly plant in Chattanooga in 2008. Good Jobs First said it was “the largest subsidy package ever offered to a foreign automaker in the United States.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to chrisbutlerjournalist@gmail.com.
Background Photo “Volkswagen Factory” by Hannes Grobe. CC BY 3.0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Thoughts to “Volkswagen Reportedly Demanded Things from Tennessee Officials Before Announcing Chattanooga Electric Car Plant”

  1. […] The Tennessee Star reported, Tennessee officials have given Volkswagen hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate […]

  2. […] As reported, Tennessee officials reportedly made concessions to Volkswagen to get the company to construct a new electric vehicle plant in Chattanooga. […]

  3. […] The Tennessee Star reported this month, Tennessee officials reportedly made concessions to Volkswagen to get the […]

  4. Cannoneer2

    I asked that before over at Humphrey on the Hill. Knew it wasn’t placed here without some sort of corporate welfare being involved.

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