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Toyota Auto Incentives

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has signed a bill into law that gives tax incentives to automakers in Kentucky.

The new law allows manufacturers and suppliers to tap the incentives if they have 1,000 employees, have been in business in Kentucky for at least five years and are willing to invest $100 million in the state. The law is an extension of a 2007 program that allowed Ford to invest more than one billion dollars into its two Louisville plants to expand the workforce and re-tool assembly lines.

"As our plant ages, we want to be able to take advantage of a package such as this, as our competitors have afforded to do. So this does level the playing field," says Toyota Kentucky spokesman Rick Hesterberg about his company's 25-year old plant in Georgetown.

Hesterberg says the incentives will also help if Toyota ever decides to build a new plant or a new model of car in the U.S.

"We are actually competing here within our own company for those types of projects. So when you have friendly legislative actions taken on like what our governor has just done it gives us the ability to be more competitive even within Toyota," he says.

He also predicts the law will lure more auto suppliers to Kentucky.

Kenny Colston is the Frankfort Bureau Chief for Kentucky Public Radio (a collaborative effort of public radio stations in Kentucky). Colston has covered Kentucky's Capitol and state government since 2010. He is a Louisville native, and a graduate of the University of Kentucky. When he's not tracking down stories about Kentucky politics, you can often find him watching college sports, particularly football.
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