According to news reports, Panasonic has picked Kansas to be the home of the company's new super battery factory, blowing off Oklahoma and our generous subsidy package like it was dust in the wind.
Here are some details via The Oklahoman:
Panasonic will reportedly build its newest battery manufacturing plant in Kansas, snubbing Oklahoma's pitch for the factory to be built at Pryor's Mid-America Industrial Park.
Japanese news outlet Nikkei first reported Wednesday the Japanese electronics company will invest several billion dollars for an electric vehicle battery factory in Kansas to supply a new high-capacity battery for Tesla vehicles that are manufactured in Texas. Kansas state officials plan to sign off on a deal and make an announcement later today.
Oklahoma leaned heavily into its recruitment of Panasonic. In April, Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a $698 million incentive package reportedly aimed at luring Panasonic. The Large-scale Economic Activity and Development Act would have qualified the company for an annual rebate of 3.4% on qualified capital expenditures for up to five years.
Geeze, for being a successful businessman, Kevin Stitt sure does suck at closing deals! First, we got brushed off by Elon, and now Panasonic tells us batteries are not included! I guess closing a billion-dollar business deal is a bit more challenging than convincing a widow to take out a reverse mortgage.
Actually, to be fair, Stitt did score the deal with fledgling electric vehicle manufacturer Canoo. They were just thrown a lifeline from Walmart, so who knows, maybe down the road Kevin can start drinking coffee again?
For what it's worth, Stitt and Co. took the bad news in stride. Here's what Carly had to say:
“Gov. Stitt is confident in his plan to attract companies to Oklahoma. This is not the end of the governor’s strategy to make Oklahoma a Top Ten state for business and Oklahomans would be wise to not count us out just yet,” said Carly Atchison, the governor's communications director."
Yep, don't count Stitt out just yet. I guess we need to wait for him to strike out a couple more times before that happens.
Obviously, people are scratching their heads trying to figure out why Pansonic chose Kansas over Oklahoma. The most logical answer is that Kansas put together a better subsidy package, but others are speculating that Oklahoma's standing as a Top 10 State for Draconian Laws, Dumb People, and Being Consumed By Bigfoot is what did us in.
I guess that makes sense, but is Kansas really that much better? Sure, abortion is legal there (for now), but it's not like Kansas is some highly-desirable utopia where people are clamoring to live, which I guess makes this defeat almost as embarrassing as losing to their football team.
Stay with The Lost Ogle. We'll keep you advised.