Local NewsTaxes & SpendingFort Worth Offers Over $400 Million Tax Break to Attract Electric Vehicle Manufacturer

Fort Worth is part of a competitive nationwide selection process to persuade Rivian electric vehicle manufacturing to come to the city.
August 17, 2021
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The City of Fort Worth is currently in negotiations to bring Rivian, an American electric vehicle manufacturer, to the city.

The manufacturer, which currently has over 7,000 employees and is growing, has a contract with Amazon to provide 100,000 delivery vans, according to a presentation given to the city council by Economic Development Director Robert Sturns.

The competitive process to woo Rivian to Fort Worth involves a 2,000-acre site location upon which up to 12 million square feet of buildings will be located. The currently proposed site would be 12 miles from downtown Fort Worth and south of Interstate 20.

According to the city, the project would generate 1,875 jobs by the end of 2025 and over 7,500 jobs by the end of 2027 with minimum average annual salaries of $56,000.

In an effort to lure Rivian to the city, Fort Worth is offering tax abatements and grants that will be capped at $440,000,000. One incentive is a 15-year economic development program agreement grant which would reduce the company’s tax burden by 85 percent of the taxes on real and business personal property.

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During her campaign, newly elected Mayor Mattie Parker supported the use of tax abatements and economic incentives to attract corporations to Fort Worth.  “We need every tool to roll out the red carpet,” she said during a candidate forum

Some have criticized tax abatement programs as subsidizing certain businesses over others and for lacking transparency before taxpayers.

Additionally, the city plans to nominate the project for funding through the Texas Enterprise Zone program, a “state sales and use tax refund program designed to encourage private investment and job creation in economically distressed areas of the state,” according to the Office of the Governor’s website

In his presentation to the city council, Sturns pointed out that “known competitors [are] offering aggressive state and local incentives.”

As part of its “transportation innovation” fact sheet, Fort Worth’s economic development department posits that “for the past decade, Fort Worth has been quietly evolving away from conventional energy (oil/gas) into new technology-driven energy production and downstream applications.” 

The city’s proposed Fiscal Year 2022 budget includes a reduction in the tax rate of 1.5 cents, from 74.75 cents per $100 valuation to 73.25 cents. According to the city’s news release, the budget would “establish an annual allocation for economic development incentives laid out in the Economic Development Strategic Plan.”

Tarrant County is also offering a tax abatement to Rivian as part of the competitive bid arrangement. The company would receive an abatement of 70 percent of its tax obligation to the county over 10 years, approximately $35.8 million. Parker County, the neighboring county where part of the land for the project is located, is offering similar terms.

Update: The piece has been updated with information about Tarrant and Parker counties’ tax abatement offering.

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Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts is a reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.

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