Rivian factory in Georgia loses property taxes after judge’s ruling

ATLANTA (AP) – A Georgia judge has rejected a deal that could provide a large property tax break for Rivian Automotive, covering up the truck maker’s plan to build a plant east of Atlanta. emerging electricity.

Judge Brenda Trammell of the Morgan County Superior Court dismissed Typically a local government request to validate a bond deal, Thursday’s ruling that the development agency brought the case failed to demonstrate that the $5 billion plant, projected to employ 7,500 people, is “just, reasonable, and workable” as required by state law.

Trammell also ruled that under state law, Rivian must be required to pay regular property taxes because of the degree of control over the property the development agency will lease, undermining the rationale for legal action to be taken. right from the start.

Rivian declined to comment.

The Georgia Department of Economic Development and a local four-county joint development agency that employed Rivian said they were “disappointed and respectfully disagreed with Judge Trammell’s decision. They said they are not giving up their plans and are considering an appeal.

“We remain undaunted in our efforts to bring high-paying American manufacturing jobs to Georgia and are currently evaluating all regulatory options,” the groups said.

Electric vehicle manufacturer based in Irvine, California announced last year that they will be building the facility on a 2,000-acre (800-hectare) site in Morgan and Walton counties about 45 miles (70 km) east of Atlanta along Interstate 20. It plans to produce up to 400,000 vehicles annually. there. Rivian, which also has a plant in Normal, Illinois, was hoping to break ground as early as this summer and begin production in 2024.

By maintaining ownership of the property and leasing it to Rivian, the local government will exempt Rivian from property taxes of $700 million over 25 years, even though Rivian has agreed to pay $300 million in taxes in this time.

Real estate tax relief is an important part of $1.2 billion in tax breaks and incentives Georgia and local officials asked Rivian to build a factory in the state.

This long-used tactic bypasses a Georgia constitutional ban on giving “bonuses” to companies or individuals. If Trammell’s order requires regular estate taxes to be upheld, it could throw other major tax breaks into question and discourage officials from using the tool in the future.

The state also plans to spend $200 million to buy the site and prepare it. Rivian can claim a $200 million projected income tax credit and $280 million in sales tax rebates on construction machinery and materials. The state also plans to spend $90 million to build a job training and worker training center.

The judge finds a group’s argument convincing Local residents opposed the development of the factorysaid it would damage their quality of life in a rural area that is now encroaching on the vastness of Atlanta.

JoEllen Artz, president of opposition group Morgan Land, Sky said: “It is with great pleasure that we as local citizens have been able to gather together to do so much research to bring together a team. great legal and gives us great results like these. & Water conservation. Artz and other opponents intervened in the lawsuit to question the suitability of the tax relief agreement proposed by the four-county joint development agency that helped recruit Rivian.

The company had difficulty ramping up production in Illinois and once the stock price skyrocketed fell with some key investors dumping shares.

Trammell writes that state and local officials do not appear to be taking into account the higher service costs that local governments will incur, or whether Rivian will have enough money to complete the project.

“Rivian’s cash reserves are rapidly depleting, thus casting serious doubt as to whether it can begin, let alone complete,” Trammell writes.

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