THE COSTS OF JOBS: Nissan's Tennessee growth spurred by hundreds of millions in incentives

THE COSTS OF JOBS: Nissan's Tennessee growth spurred by hundreds of millions in incentives

September 18th, 2017 by Mike Reicher/USA Today Network-Tennessee in Local Regional News

Workers inspect a new Nissan Altima on the line after the company celebrated the start of production of the fifth generation of its best-selling model at the plant in Smyrna, Tenn., on Tuesday, May 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

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No company has transformed Tennessee's manufacturing sector more than Nissan. The Japanese auto manufacturer began producing cars at the Smyrna plant in 1983, leading the way for others.

Automakers from Volkswagen to General Motors have followed, building plants and expanding their employment ranks in the state.

Today, Nissan's North American headquarters is in Franklin, and the company employs more than 12,000 statewide.

Its growth is spurred by sizable state grants and local property tax incentives, among other subsidies, including tax and utility credits, that aren't disclosed publicly.

A redesigned version of the Nissan Maxima is displayed at the Japanese automaker's assembly plant in Smyrna, Tenn., on Tuesday, April 21, 2015. The Japanese automaker is promoting the sporty nature of the new version of its flagship sedan. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)

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Photo by The Associated Press/Times Free Press.

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"Working with our local and state partners, Nissan and Tennessee have achieved record economic growth and made Tennessee a global leader in the automotive industry," the company said in a statement.

Since 2000, Nissan has been awarded at least $600 million in government subsidies in Tennessee, according to state and local records and the economic development watchdog group Good Jobs First. Here are some recent incentives:

* 2009: $98.3 million property tax abatement by Rutherford County for the Smyrna plant's expansion, expected to add more than 1,700 workers over 30 years.

* 2015: $35 million state Capital grant and $18 million county property tax abatement for a supplier park in Smyrna, in exchange for 1,000 jobs.

* 2016: $2.1 million local property tax abatement for a warehouse facility in Wilson County, expected to create 81 jobs.

The state Department of Economic and Community Development has awarded Nissan projects $52.5 million in job training or infrastructure grants since 2012. Nissan officials report that they have exceeded job targets.


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