UPDATED 4:15 p.m. | The electric automaker Rivian will be able to claim its local property-tax breaks after meeting the minimum hiring and plant investment thresholds for the 2019 tax year, officials said.
Rivian failed to earn those tax breaks a year ago, citing delays in the plant equipment procurement process. But the pace of work and hiring accelerated inside the Normal plant throughout 2019, with millions of dollars in renovations underway and over 300 employees hired. (The plant is now temporarily shut down due to the coronavirus.)
To get its tax breaks for 2019, Rivian was required to have at least 75 full-time employees and proven at least $22 million in plant investment. The Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council (EDC) has verified both requirements have been met, according to a document provided to Heartland Community College trustees. They’ll discuss the 2019 tax abatement Tuesday night. Heartland is one of several taxing bodies that agreed to give Rivian the incentives.
"We are extremely excited and appreciative to have Heartland Community College as a resource for workforce training and upskilling," Rivian spokesperson Zach Dietmeier said Tuesday. "Sourcing and hiring for hundreds of new jobs with very specific technical requirements is a true community undertaking, and Heartland’s support is invaluable."
It’s unclear how much exactly Rivian will save for 2019. The amount is not yet available from the McLean County treasurer’s office. Rivian saw $561,000 in taxes abated after meeting its obligations for the 2017 tax year.
To get its tax breaks for 2020, Rivian will have to prove it's hired 300 full-time employees and invested $32 million at the plant by Dec. 31, according to the agreement with taxing bodies.
Rivian already has 328 employees based in Normal, and the "capital investment total is well ahead of schedule," Dietmeier said.
"Despite the challenges presented with a global pandemic, we are doing everything within our control to safely continue preparation for production," he said.
Rivian has not claimed or received a tax credit from the state for 2019, said an Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity spokesperson. It failed to meet its investment requirements for the state credit in 2018. Rivian was set to receive $49.5 million in EDGE state tax credits if it met certain hiring and capital-investment thresholds over several years.
Rivian, which has attracted investments from Ford and Amazon, plans to make electric vehicles, batteries, and other components at the Normal manufacturing plant. It’s promised to hire at least 1,000 workers by 2024 to qualify for its full slate of tax breaks. Rivian’s total investment in the plant is expected to be around $750 million.
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