The new state jobs law includes a package of incentives — including tax credits and sales tax exemptions — designed to entice Ford to keep open its St. Paul manufacturing plant, which now makes Ranger pickups but is scheduled to close next year.
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, who’s often been at odds with Gov. Tim Pawlenty over cuts in state aid to cities, applauded the governor for signing the bill later this morning.
Said the mayor:
“This legislation gives Saint Paul the means to do our part in protecting the workers at the Ford Plant. As Ford continues to look at their options, this bill stands as evidence that the City of Saint Paul, and its world class workforce, are ready to work with them in any way we can to keep this plant open.”
According to the mayor’s office:
The legislation offers Ford incentives to retrofit the plant into a dual platform facility, allowing it to produce more models than the Ranger. Operations in the plant would resume after an 18-month construction period. The City of Saint Paul worked with the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and the House and Senate Tax Chairs to pass an incentive package for Ford or another automaker that includes exemption from sales tax on construction materials, tax credits for job retention and creation, and other benefits. Minnesota joins Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, and Michigan as states with similar incentive efforts.