Alabama Auto Incentives

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Luring foreign automakers requires more than giving them millions in tax breaks in Alabama. It now involves free advertising and mortgage assistance for employees.

The 47-page contract between the state and Hyundai shows how diverse the incentive packages are becoming. It's far more detailed than the contract state officials signed July 9 for the doubling of the Honda plant in Lincoln. That contract outlines $90 million in incentives, but little else.

The Hyundai contract starts by outlining the typical tax breaks, offers of land acquisition and waived permit fees that make up most of the $253 million incentive package.

But then the contract gets into new incentives, like a requirement for the state to provide $10 million in free newspaper and TV advertising that will promote both the automaker and the state.

The free advertising is being provided through the state pension program at no cost to the state.

Deputy Director Marc Reynolds of the Retirement Systems of Alabama said the pension program provided the financing for the Raycom Media TV stations and Community Newspaper Holdings.

The financing agreements require the two media groups to give free advertising to pension program. In the past, it has been used to promote the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trial, Alabama's public universities, and Alabama tourist attractions.