COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Intel is early in the process of building a $20 billion computer chip manufacturing plant in New Albany, but incentives the state has pledged for coming to Ohio are starting to become clearer.
The project, first announced in January, is the largest private-sector investment in the state’s history, and the initial process to lure the tech company to lay down roots in central Ohio was aggressive.
“I kind of like to say it’s sort of like a fishing story,” New Albany Mayor Sloan Spalding said in an August interview. “We caught the fish. It’s a big fish, and now we have to get it in the boat. And we quickly realized we need a bigger boat.”
That “boat” came to include a $2 billion package of incentives, which have started to crystallize in recent months. They include more than $1.2 billion passed within the June capital budget: $600 million in grants and $691 million in infrastructure investments, which are partly for a new water reclamation facility.
And as of Monday, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority laid the foundation for a job creation tax credit for Intel — it could total up to an estimated $650 million in tax credits over 30 years.
At its Monday meeting, the Tax Credit Authority was presented with an incorrect, lower rate that it passed, but it will reconsider the proper rate at a future meeting, according to a Department of Development spokesperson.
But Zach Schiller, a researcher at self-proclaimed nonpartisan firm Policy Matters Ohio, said he has questions about the tax breaks being provided to Intel — adding that he believes what is in the process of being passed may not be the last. Schiller, pointing to language in the capital appropriations bill, said the legislation could pave the way for future tax breaks tied to the job creation tax credit.
“Call it a boat, call it whatever you want. We want a boat that is going to be seaworthy, and that carries us to shore,” Schiller said in an interview.
He said he wants to see Intel’s project succeed, and to benefit “the maximum number” of Ohioans. Schiller’s not opposed to the tax credits currently in the process of being approved — he just wants them to be passed with protections and accountability in mind.
A spokesperson with the Department of Development, which oversees the Tax Credit Authority, said the capital budget includes safeguards, such as requiring Intel to submit an annual economic progress report that, if it’s reneging on promises, would allow the Tax Credit Authority to decrease a tax break or claw money back.
The tech company has promised to create 7,000 constructions jobs as the plant is being built, and 3,000 more to staff it. State leaders have said the project could create thousands of more jobs indirectly.
“Intel invests significant resources to attract, develop, recognize and reward the people who keep Intel at the forefront of innovation and make Intel an employer of choice, and we expect Intel’s Ohio investment to create more than 3,000 high-tech, high-wage Intel jobs,” Intel spokesperson Linda Qian said in a statement Monday.
Some investment news came earlier in September, when Intel announced where the first $17.7 million of $50 million was going toward schools in the state. It will fund eight proposals being led by different Ohio universities to better prepare students for research and work with semiconductors.