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Hyundai Has Used Its Influence In Alabama To Secure Hundreds of Millions In Incentives

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alabama plant openingHyundai’s corporate headquarters may be in Seoul, but the company has enormous influence over Alabama politicians. Alabama’s elected officials have been more than willing to open the state’s coffers to Hyundai — twice. So, Hyundai, which markets heavily to the Latino community, has close ties to the leaders who implemented H.B. 56. And, it’s pretty clear there’s a tight relationship, which started in 2002:

The cost of tempting Hyundai Motor Co. to bring its first U.S. manufacturing plant to Alabama didn’t come cheap — more than $234 million of public incentives.

 That includes money for job training, highway improvements, land purchases and tax credits, Finance Director Henry Mabry announced Thursday.

The incentive cost for each of the anticipated 2,000 jobs created is about $117,317 — less than what was paid to lure the Mercedes-Benz plant to Vance but more than Honda demanded for its factory in Lincoln.

 “We didn’t provide any incentives we didn’t have to,” Mr. Mabry said. “This is a good investment for Alabama.”

 Hyundai announced Monday it would build the $1 billion plant south of Montgomery. It is expected to produce 300,000 vehicles a year by 2005.

In 2007, then-Governor Riley called a special session to arrange another $400 million in state financing to lure Hyundai into building another plant. Let’s just say: Governors don’t call special sessions for just anyone. This is a clear example of the company’s power within the state: 

Alabama was in the hunt for the engine plant when Riley called the Legislature into special session to expand the state’s borrowing capacity for industrial incentives by $400 million. Riley’s plan passed without a dissenting vote on March 2.

State officials said the state will provide $15 million to Hyundai for site preparation, construction costs, machinery and equipment, plus up to $2 million to train employees. The state will also make road improvements and will provide tax credits and tax abatements that are available to all new industries.

The city and county governments will chip in up to $3.5 million for site preparation, roads and other costs.

Despite the power that they hold in Alabama, Hyundai is unwilling to exert its influence to take a stand against H.B. 56 and to stand up for Alabamians’ civil liberties. Alabama’s anti-immigrant law has been the cause of much devastation in Alabama — ripping families apart, and forcing people deeper into the shadows. And since money is what moves them, here’s a real lesson for Hyundai to learn — as Douglas Oxenhorn wrote on the Facebook “Put the Brakes on Hate” campaign page:

Excellent! This IS part of their community and Honda & Hyundai have a responsibility to speak up against hatred! If not, I will re-think a car purchase from both companies in future…

And he’s not the only one…