Riley signs bill to help lure giant steel plant
By Bob Johnson
Associated Press Writer
MONTGOMERY — Gov. Bob Riley signed a bill offering a package of tax breaks that he hopes will be the final step needed to lure a $2.9 billion steel plant to Alabama.
The supervisory board of the German steel maker Thyssen-
Krupp AG will meet Friday to consider whether to locate the plant, which will employ 2,700 people, in Alabama or Louisiana. ThyssenKrupp is deciding between a location in St. James Parish along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans and a site near Mobile.
The plant is expected to begin operation in 2010.
"I think we are as competitive as we can be," Riley said. "We hope we will win this. We will know Friday."
The tax breaks approved by the Legislature come on top of a $400 million incentives package designed to attract the steel mill and other major industries to the state.
The Louisiana Legislature, pushed by Gov. Kathleen Blanco, approved a $300 million fund late last year for site improvements and construction to help lure the steel plant. The Louisiana Legislature is working on legislation to add another $100 million to that fund.
South Alabama lawmakers said the steel mill would be a major achievement for Alabama.
"This will change the face of that part of Alabama forever," said Sen. Pat Lindsey, D-Butler, whose South Alabama district includes the site for the plant.
The tax break bill, which passed the House and Senate without a dissenting vote, would give the German company a 10-year tax break on paying utility taxes, an enhanced 20-year break on property taxes that don't go to education, and an income tax credit for 30 years.
The House sponsor of the bill, Rep. Richard Lindsey, D-Centre, said he's optimistic that Alabama will win the plant.
"I'm looking forward to a positive announcement on Friday," Lindsey said.
After Riley signed the bill into law, he said all state officials can do now is wait.
"I do not think we could have put together a better package. Everyone did all they could," Riley said.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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