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Experts optimistic about job claims related to Panasonic plant

Posted at 4:09 PM, Jul 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-14 19:26:15-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The KSHB 41 I-Team is looking into the tax incentives and job claims related to the new Panasonic plant.

The electric vehicle battery plant is considered to be the largest economic development project in Kansas history.

The Sunflower State edged out Oklahoma for the massive project. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly's office confirmed the EV batteries from the plant will be used in Teslas.

The plant is expected to bring in an investment of up to $4 billion and create up to 4,000 new jobs.

KSHB 41 Investigator Cameron Taylor spoke with Jeremy Hill, from Wichita State University, about whether he thinks the 4,000 jobs will come to fruition.

"I think that there's a high probability for that just because of the company, because of the demand in a new sector, lots of interest behind them," Jeremy Hill, director for the Center for Economic Development and Business Research at Wichita State University said.

Hill put together an economic impact study.

"So, you may not necessarily plan to work there, but you're still going to benefit in Johnson County," Hill said. "But this is also going to have a spillover effect that is going to go over to the surrounding communities because the labor can't be supplied all locally."

The state offered an incentives package worth more than $820 million. The two biggest pieces include an investment tax credit worth $500 million over five years and a payroll rebate worth $234 million over 10 years.

The incentives also include $5 million per year over five years for training and education.

"All of those costs are probably not going to be utilized. Some of the training, they're going to do internal training themselves, but they're going to need training through technical colleges," Hill said.

The state said Panasonic's incentives will be reimbursed after the company makes investments and hires workers.

The governor's office estimates construction for the plant will be completed sometime in 2024.

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