Senate Approves $350M for Chance at Secret $2B Hardin Co. Economic Development Project

With a 30 to 3 vote the Kentucky state Senate approved an incentive that could bring a $2 billion economic development project to West Kentucky.

Kentucky has a “chance” to bring a business to Hardin County with a minimum investment from the company of at least $2 billion.

Many in the legislature have signed non-disclosure agreements protecting the project, but on the Senate floor on Thursday morning, Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, compared the project to bringing Toyota to Kentucky in the 1980s.

“Kentucky is in the running,” Thayer told his colleagues of the economic development project, comparing the potential development to something “you could see from the moon.”

Thayer said if the company does not choose Kentucky, none of the $350 million would be spent. Lawmakers also remarked on Gov. Andy Beshear, D-Kentucky, working with the legislature to attempt to attract the company – something they say has been missing during his tenure.

Senate Bill 3, would appropriate $350 million in General Fund money in fiscal year 2021-2022 for funding Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority forgivable loans for economic development projects with a minimum investment of $2, billion and appropriate $10,639,600 in General Fund money in fiscal year 2021-2022 to pay a loan related to property in Hardin County. Another appropriate $20 million in General Fund money would go to the Bluegrass State Skills Corporation for training grants; along with several more multi-million dollar appropriations for training grants and construction of a Kentucky Community and Technical College System on-site training center.

Sen. Hornback, Sen. Shickel, and Sen. Southworth were against the legislation.