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WGLT, an NPR station in central Illinois, is following every move at the Rivian manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois. The electric vehicle startup has gone from stealth mode to big-time player in the auto world, attracting attention (and big money) from companies like Ford and Amazon.

Rivian, Brandt Meet Tax Break Benchmarks

Exterior of Rivian plant
Eric Stock
Rivian surpassed 300 full-time employees and $32 million in investment at its plant in Normal in 2020.

Two McLean County manufacturers have met hiring and investment benchmarks to qualify for tax incentives.The Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council (EDC) says Rivian exceeded $32 million in investments at its electric vehicle plant in Normal last year, and Rivian hired more than 300 full-time employees. Those were the two conditions for the county to cut Rivian's property tax bill in full for 2020.

Rivian failed to meet qualifications for the tax abatements for 2018, citing logistical delays in getting the plant up and running.

The agreement calls for Rivian to invest $40.5 million into the plant and hire 500 full-time employees to receive the tax breaks for 2021.

Rivian has not claimed or received tax credits from the state of Illinois’ EDGE program. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) amended its agreement with Rivian in 2018 to give Rivan until the end of 2021 to claim up to $49.5 million in tax credits.

“The state of Illinois remains closely engaged with the team at Rivian to support their continued growth in Normal, which is expected to add hundreds of jobs, expand access to clean energy alternatives, and advance inclusive economic opportunity for the region,” said DCEO spokesperson Lauren Huffman. “While the state has yet to issue any EDGE credits for Rivian, our work is still ongoing to review claims.”

The EDC says Canadian ag manufacturer Brandt Industries also met its target to hire at least 75 full-time employees and at least 100 workers during its peak operating period. That enables Brandt to avoid paying property taxes on its plant in rural Hudson.

The tax deals impact how much money goes to taxing bodies, including McLean County, Unit 5 schools and Heartland Community College.

The McLean County Treasurer's office doesn't yet have data on how much the two companies will save in taxes.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.