A lawsuit opposing tax incentives for a new Georgia factory proposed by Rivian hit a roadblock on July 14 when the state supreme court refused to hear an appeal in the case, reaffirming the validity of the state’s tax break offer.
The $5 billion facility, expected to occupy 2,000 acres in the state, was announced in late 2021, alongside an estimated production output of 400,000 electric vehicles per year. Construction on the site was originally set for 2022, which would have allowed operations to begin within two years, but due to several legal challenges, Rivian has moved the launch date back to 2026.
This opposition has largely focused on incentives package arranged by the State of Georgia and the Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton Counties, which guaranteed, among other things, $700 million in property tax breaks for the project. The lawsuit, run by Rivian opposition group Morgan County Land, Sky & Water Preservation, claimed the state was not legally allowed to arrange the deal and challenged the validity of bonds tied to the offer.
Since the facility’s announcement, the EV brand and this organization have faced off in court on multiple occasions. The group has also run fundraising events to support its fight against the manufacturer, where detractors criticized the brand for not clearing the factory with nearby Walton and Morgan county residents. Supporters have also defended the automaker, such as Fred Perriman, mayor of Madison, who noted the factory would create jobs. “Some of those protestors, I promise you, some of their family members will try to get a job at that facility,” he remarked. Despite the conflict, Rivian CEO R.J. Scaringe told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that “The future of our company in terms of scaling and growing really relies on the future of this project.”
Although a Morgan County judge initially ruled against the electric vehicle manufacturer’s incentive package in late 2022, that decision was quickly overturned by a panel of judges earlier this year. With the Georgia Supreme Court’s decision not to hear an appeal, the deal is essentially cleared to be finalized with the $700 million tax break offer intact.