More details on how much Ohio taxpayers are investing in the Intel deal
The leader of Ohio’s Department of Development, Lydia Mahalik, said the state is giving Intel $600 million dollars in a cash grant, $691 million for infrastructures like roads, water, and sewer lines and $650 million in a job creation tax credit as part of its deal to build a $20 billion dollar semiconductor chip production facility in Central Ohio. Mahalik said the Intel investment is the largest in Ohio History so the incentive package is also likely unprecedented.
“I would say it probably reasons that this is the largest incentive package in Ohio’s history in order to land something of this magnitude," Mahalik says.
As part of the deal, Mahalik said Intel must follow through with its plans to directly employ 3,000 people with an average salary of $135,000 plus benefits. She said there's no reason to believe the company won't follow through with that plan, but if it doesn't, she said the contract is written in a way that some state dollars could be clawed back.
JobsOhio, the state’s non-profit job development company, said it plans to give Intel $150 million in grants but won’t give more details until final agreements are executed. JobsOhio CEO J.P. Nauseef said the decision for the package it offered was based on a projected return in investment.
Zach Schiller of Policy Matters Ohio said the Intel investment could be a good one for Ohio but he is curious about all of the incentives being offered for which details are still unknown.
“We haven’t heard Intel ask for anything that it wasn’t given,” said Schiller.
Schiller said the project will add more children to local schools, could make housing more unaffordable for people who already cannot afford homes, and could add other strains to the local economy. He said there is a finite amount of money available for this type of project and he wonders how much the state will help with schools, affordable housing, and other needs once Intel comes in, and if there will be enough money allocated to handle those needs as well.
Sue Van Woerkom, president of the Columbus Board of Realtors, said the housing inventory is already tight in Columbus, especially for affordable homes.
“Even though it’s not going to open until 2025, there are going to be people who are going to make that happen now, and where are they going to live? We have suppliers who are coming in, where are they going to live? And it’s going to be all levels, from people starting right now to the high up executives that will soon be coming. We are behind the 8 ball in Central Ohio right now so more needs to be done. We can’t start soon enough.”
Josh Summer, Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies, said there's a need for transportation too. “So I don’t know what that looks like, if that’s something like a dedicated bus line or even rail systems, we want to make sure people have access to those jobs,” said Summer.
The rising value of land is a problem for farmers too if they want to continue farming.
Chris Gibbs is the former Shelby County Republican Party chair and a farmer in northwest Ohio. He heads up the group Rural Voices USA, which says it’s focused on bridging the rural-urban divide.
“It’s good news if you are on the selling end of that but it’s not so good news for a farmer who would be in close proximity or even out a little further. As land values rise, it makes it harder for farmers to access land and to purchase land,” said Gibbs.
Brandon Kern with the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation agrees. He said farmers need to be at the table when things like roads are considered because some roundabouts can prevent access to farm equipment that is essential for agricultural operations.
Alison Goebel with Greater Ohio, a group concerned about sprawl and sustainable growth, said planning and executing good development is crucial.
“This is an opportunity to start planning today so that we are not doing catch-up. They need to start yesterday and I think they are,” said Goebel.
Mihalik said the state, local leaders, and other stakeholders will be at the table to determine what infrastructure needs exist and figure out how best to fund those projects.
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