State discloses part of Mercedes incentives deal

Georgia officials unveiled at least part of the incentives package the state used to lure Mercedes-Benz to relocate its U.S. headquarters from New Jersey.

On Monday, state officials disclosed that Mercedes-Benz USA will receive assistance from a grant totaling $6 million through one of Georgia’s so-called “deal closing” funds. The Regional Economic Business Assistance Program (REBA) grant will be administered by the Development Authority of Fulton County.

The grant, which is funded by taxpayer dollars, is likely only a portion of the total incentive package. The total package — likely to be valued in the tens of millions of dollars — could include tax credits for jobs created and property tax abatements for the German luxury automaker’s new headquarters facility.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has filed an Georgia Open Records Act request to obtain information about the full incentives package, and that request is pending.

The Wall Street Journal reported online Monday that the state package totaled “about $23 million,” including tax credits.

Last week, Mercedes confirmed that it will move its U.S. division from Montvale, N.J., to metro Atlanta. The move will involve 800 to 1,000 jobs.

Mercedes also has applied for a bond package with the Fulton development authority that would open the door for local property tax breaks on the auto company’s planned $93 million campus. Mercedes plans to move to temporary quarters later this year and open the new corporate campus in 2017.

A property tax break could come as part of a complicated bond and lease transaction that would abate a portion of an property tax liability over 10 years. The county offers a 50 percent reduction in the first year, a reduction that would decrease by 5 percent each year for 10 years.

Taxpayers would not be on the hook for such bonds, authority officials said last week.

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