TOPEKA, (KSNT)— It’s been nearly four months since Kansas lawmakers signed off on a bid to attract a $4 billion business investment from a secret company.
While state leaders have been quiet about the details of the project, including the prolonged timeline, according to Secretary of Commerce and Lieutenant Governor David Toland, the state is still in the running to secure the deal.
“We’re just watching and waiting,” Toland said in an interview this week.
Even state Congressmen have stayed tight-lipped, as they leave the deal to the state to handle.
“This is a state decision and I’ll leave it to state leaders to work this out,” Rep. Jake LaTurner, R-Kansas, told Kansas Capitol Bureau on Thursday.
The state rushed to pass a major incentives plan in February, providing hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks for the company between this year and 2023. The incentives would round out to more than $1 billion in total.
Rumors circulated that the company could be Panasonic, a longtime supplier for Tesla, considering a potential battery plant. The official company that could move to the state has remained secret for legal reasons.
However, the decision to provide a robust incentives package for the secret business divided lawmakers early on. Some democrats and republicans expressed excitement over the potential income for the state, but, other lawmakers worried about the lack of transparency. Rep. John Carmichael, D-Wichita voiced his concerns in a floor debate.
“Do any of you really think that it’s the right thing to do to vote to spend either through tax incentives, SGF outlays or otherwise hundreds of millions of dollars and you don’t know what it’s going for?” Carmichael said.
The project is expected to create more than 4,000 jobs. If it falls through, the money that’s been earmarked in incentives will go back to the state budget.
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