Responding to many queries, Good Jobs First on December 12 released its summary of state and local subsidies given to foreign-owned auto assembly plants, totaling $3.6 billion.

 

"As elected officials debate aid for the Big Three, taxpayers have the right to know the full extent of government involvement in America's auto industry," said Greg LeRoy, GJF's executive director. "And while proposed federal aid to the Big Three would take the form of a loan, the vast majority of subsidies to foreign auto plants were taxpayer gifts such as property and sales tax exemptions, income tax credits, infrastructure aid, land discounts, and training grants.”

 

Subsidies include:

         Honda, Marysville, Ohio, 1980, $27 million*

         Nissan, Smyrna, Tenn., 1980, $233 million**

         Toyota, Georgetown, Ky., 1985, $147 million

         Honda, Anna, Ohio, 1985, $27 million*

         Subaru, Lafayette, Ind., 1986, $94 million

         Honda, East Liberty, Ohio, 1987, $27 million*

         BMW, Spartanburg, S.C., 1992, $150 million

         Mercedes-Benz, Vance, Ala., 1993, $258 million

         Toyota, Princeton, Ind., 1995, $30 million

         Nissan, Decherd, Tenn., 1995, $200 million**

         Toyota, Buffalo, W.Va., 1996, more than $15 million

         Honda, Lincoln, Ala., 1999, $248 million

         Nissan, Canton, Miss., 2000, $295 million

         Toyota, Huntsville, Ala., 2001, $30 million

         Hyundai, Montgomery, Ala., 2002, $252 million

         Toyota, San Antonio, Texas, 2003, $133 million

         Kia, West Point, Ga., 2006, $400 million

         Honda, Greensburg, Ind., 2006, $141 million

         Toyota, Blue Springs, Miss., 2007, $300 million

         Volkswagen, Chattanooga, Tenn., 2008, $577 million

Total: more than $3.58 billion

 

* total of direct subsidies to all Honda facilities in Ohio

** includes about $200 million for expansions of Smyrna and Decherd plants

 List does not include joint ventures with U.S. companies

 

This data, drawn primarily from contemporary media accounts, is very conservative. It does not account for inflation; some would be worth far more in today's dollars. It does not include any estimate of subsidies granted to hundreds of foreign-owned auto supply companies that have located in the same areas, virtually all of which were also heavily subsidized. Finally, it does not reflect later news accounts, which often place higher subsidy values.

 

Good Jobs First is a non-profit, non-partisan research center promoting best practices in economic development and smart growth, based in Washington, D.C., with offices in New York and Chicago.