Oklahoma officials respond to reports Panasonic chose Kansas despite incentives from Project Ocean | Local business news

From staff reports

Japan’s Panasonic will invest several billion dollars in another US electric vehicle battery plant in Kansas to supply a new high-performance battery for Tesla, the Tokyo-based news service Nikkei reported.

Oklahoma is expected to bid for the plant through the MidAmerica Industrial Park in Pryor and offer hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives for the Ocean project.

The decision follows Tesla opening a second US electric vehicle plant in Texas in April to meet buoyant demand.

“Governor (Kevin) Stitt is confident in his plan to attract businesses to Oklahoma,” Carly Atchison, communications director in his office, wrote in an email. “This is not the end of the governor’s strategy to make Oklahoma a top 10 state for business, and Oklahomans would be wise not to kick us out just yet.”

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The Japanese company selected the site for the new facility based on factors including proximity to Texas and favorable tax treatment, according to the Nikkei.

Stitt signed legislation this spring that provides Project Ocean with up to $698 million in capital investment and job creation rebates.

Mayes County Commissioners also passed a 12-year, $300 million Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district for the project earlier this year. Court challenges have recently been filed protesting the legal sufficiency of the referendum petition calling for the TIF to go to a vote of the people.

“The Oklahoma Department of Commerce and our partners continue to work with Project Ocean and are optimistic about additional opportunities with them in the future,” Brent Kisling, executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, said in a statement. “I would like to thank the Oklahoma Legislature and Governor Stitt for the bipartisan passage of the LEAD Act, which provides us with a vehicle to attract major businesses, including several potential customers who have already expressed interest in Oklahoma.

“We are steadfast in our pursuit of bringing the best companies, jobs and investment to Oklahoma.”

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