Governor Pence withdraws state incentives for Posey County ferti - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Governor Pence withdraws state incentives for Posey County fertilizer company project

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Governor Mike Pence's statement Governor Mike Pence's statement
Midwest Fertilizer's statement Midwest Fertilizer's statement

Some Posey County residents are relieved to hear that Governor Pence has pulled the incentive package that would have allowed the construction of a fertilizer plant.

"Our welfare, our air we breathe, our safety is much more important than the jobs," says Governor Mike Pence.

The Pakistan-based Fatima group still hopes a deal can be reached and economic leaders in Posey County aren't ready to close the books on the plant.

The proposed plant has been controversial from the start because government officials say products manufactured by the Pakistani based company are suspected to have been used to make IEDs that kill American soldiers overseas. That group says they reformulated their fertilizer, but not in time to save the deal.

"The IEDs you see in Afghanistan might be this long, and can blow up a humvee, but something this long with that new thing, wouldn't even roll if it blew up," says John Taylor.

But the department of defense says they are unable to test the new formula on the company's finance schedule.

That's why Governor Pence pulled the state's support for the $1.8-billion project, saying in a statement, "I cannot, in good conscience, tell our soldiers and their families that this deal should move forward."

Posey County Economic Development Director John Taylor says the Governor's decision doesn't impact the troops.
"I don't think the Governor has made the troops any safer whatsoever, and now we've lost out on a number of jobs and a huge investment," says Taylor.

The project offered 2,500 construction jobs over three years and 300 permanent jobs, but not everyone is convinced those would be local jobs.

"I don't think we'll get those jobs, I think they'll bring their own people in," says Peggy Shorter.

Taylor agrees, saying Midwest Fertilizer doesn't have to hire locally.
"There's never a guarantee, you always ask," says Taylor. "We put an incentive on the table so much dollars out of economic development income taxes per job, per year for up to four years for everybody they hire for the county or moves into the county."

Governor Pence says the deal is dead, but Taylor and company officials are optimistic the project will move forward.

"This project hasn't been embalmed yet. We're still working on this project," says Taylor. "When I really feel like it's finished, then it's time to work on other things."

Economic Development officials say the state's decision to pull incentives on this project may prevent other companies from thinking about moving to southwest Indiana. Taylor says if a company has to consider if they'd be welcomed by the Governor and they might not bother to look into it.

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