Rivian Automotive lost out on hundreds of millions of dollars in property tax breaks for a $5 billion manufacturing plant in Georgia when a judge threw out the agreement.
The Irvine-based, Amazon-backed electric carmaker would have benefited from $700 million in tax breaks from local and state government groups if the deal had gone through as part of the plant construction.
Morgan County Superior Court Judge Brenda Trammell declined to validate a bond agreement for the breaks, saying the local development authority that requested it hadn’t proved the proposal is “sound, reasonable and feasible,” and that state law also requires the carmaker to pay regular property taxes.
A group of local residents opposed the plant, saying it would negatively affect their quality of life in the rural area east of Atlanta.
The ruling, if upheld, calls the project into question and could put the brakes on similar tax breaks governments offer companies to build operations in their communities.
Rivian didn’t comment on the ruling, though the Georgia Department of Economic Development, which is part of the local development authority that offered the tax breaks, said it won’t abandon its plans and is considering appealing the decision.
The plant would produce a proposed 400,000 vehicles a year and employ more than 7,500 people. Rivian had planned to start production in 2024.