Business and the Economy
Beshear Signs Auto Industry Bill
FRANKFORT – Gov. Steve Beshear Monday signed into law a bill designed to spur job creation and significant investments in Kentucky’s automotive and parts manufacturing facilities. “This legislation will open doors for significant investments in the automotive industry, which plays a vital role in Kentucky’s economy, employing more than 68,000 people in the Commonwealth,” Beshear said in a statement issued by his office. “The success of the industry and the investments that result from this legislation will have far-reaching economic effects throughout all of Kentucky.”
Kentucky is currently home to 440 automotive-related industries that employ 68,100 people. Additionally, Kentucky ranks third highest in auto industry-related employment as a percent of total state employment among the top motor vehicle producing states in the United States.
Filed by Rep. Larry Clark, of Louisville, House Bill 400 amends the 2007 Kentucky Jobs Retention Act (KJRA) to allow manufacturers engaged in automobile, automobile parts, or automobile supplies manufacturing to seek incentives regardless of location in the state.
“Given the success Kentucky has seen from the incentive package the General Assembly offered to Ford in 2007, it was only natural to extend this deal to the state’s other assembly plants and large auto parts suppliers,” Clark said in a news release. “My hope is that they will all take advantage of it the way Ford has, because it has the potential to generate thousands of new jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment. Such a move would further solidify Kentucky’s already strong standing nationally and internationally in the automotive industry.”
The Kentucky General Assembly enacted KJRA as the primary tool in an incentive package that helped secure a $1.2 billion investment from Ford Motor Company to upgrade production capability at its two existing Louisville plants. Ford estimates it will hire more than 3,000 employees as a result of the incentives made available by the legislation.
The expansion of KJRA opens the door for other Kentucky auto manufacturers, as well as large-scale battery manufacturers to make significant investments in the state.
House Bill 400 will officially take effect July 12. The legislation will not have a fiscal impact to the state budget over the upcoming 2013-2014 biennium.