Georgia incentives to Mercedes: $24,540 per job

J. Scott Trubey
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta — The state of Georgia last week further outlined its incentives offerings to Mercedes-Benz USA and the total number of jobs and investment expected as part of the company's headquarters relocation.

In a letter dated Dec. 12, the state's top economic development official offered a package to "Project Eagle" of grants, tax credits and "cost avoidances" of more than $23.3 million.

The state incentive package would be valued at about $24,540 per job for 950 total employees, according to an analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Local incentives could cause the total and per job figure to rise substantially, but the local offer was not disclosed in the letter and the value was listed as to-be-determined.

The state offer was made by Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr to an executive with real estate services firm JLL, which represents Mercedes.

In a news release, the state described the project as involving at least 800 jobs and an investment of about $74 million.

Mercedes-Benz USA President and CEO Stephen Cannon has previously told the AJC the project will likely involve more than 800 jobs and one day could total nearly 1,000. He has said Georgia's low-cost environment, workforce quality and proximity to its Alabama factory and other assets were more important in its decision than incentives.

An application for bond financing — which would likely come with property tax breaks — filed last week with the Development Authority of Fulton County, described a headquarters project with 800 jobs and a higher investment figure of $93 million.

The state's "offer of support" said the project would create 800 new jobs, but also used an assumption of up to 950 jobs to calculate potential incentives.

The offer included a $6 million state grant, and jobs tax credits for 950 jobs. The letter said 800 of those would qualify for a higher threshold of incentives for "quality jobs." This tax credit is for jobs that are highly paid. The offer also included 50 in-state tuition waivers.

The average pay for the headquarters employees is expected to be more than $78,000, the letter said.

"Mercedes-Benz will find in Georgia a state that will help its bottom line, and a people who will welcome its team and their families with open arms," Gov. Nathan Deal said in a news release