DeWine Welcomes Input on Spending GM’s $12M Payment to Community

VIENNA TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Gov. Mike DeWine wants community input when decisions are made regarding how $12 million in community investment money from General Motors is spent.

DeWine fielded questions from local reporters Friday morning at Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, one of the stops on a cross-state tour to address rising coronavirus cases.

The Ohio Tax Credit Authority announced Sept. 29 that GM would make the $12 million payment to the community in addition to repaying $28 million of $60.3 million in tax credits the company received to maintain operations at its Lordstown plant, which it closed last year. The money is meant to be spent on meeting local needs including infrastructure and education.

“The community should be at the table. By that I mean the leadership of the community, management, business, labor, everybody,” DeWine said.

Ohio’s goal when working with GM was to maintain a “good relationship” with the automaker, which is “a big investor in the state,” but also to be fair to taxpayers and the community, the governor said.

“One of the things we had in mind early on was an investment into the community,” he said.

“As these decisions are made, anybody can contact us,” he added. “We’re very open for specific ideas. It doesn’t mean that every idea should be utilized but we’re open for those ideas.”

Local leaders need to hear from the public regarding what will provide “the biggest bang for our buck,” and “a host of entities across the spectrum” of the community should be involved, said state Sen. Sean O’Brien, D-32 Brookfield.

“We need as a community to come together. I don’t think a few elected officials are going to be the right answer to make this decision,’ he said.

As much of the funds as possible should be spent – including toward education – on capitalizing on the “Voltage Valley” investments in Lordstown and not diluted through the Valley, said state Sen. Mike Rulli, R-33 Salem.

“We have to educate our kids on electric vehicles,” he said. “It’s absolutely essential for our future.”

Elected officials from both sides of the aisle need to be involved, as well as other community leaders and representatives of nonprofit groups in the community, said state Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan, D-58 Youngstown.

Lepore-Hagan said she pressed GM for months about repaying the community after closing the Lordstown plant.

Pictured at top: Gov. Mike DeWine addresses reporters Friday morning at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.