Multi-million dollar economic development bill gets bipartisan support at Kentucky special session

The $410 million allocation is for a multi-billion dollar economic development in Hardin County and possibly beyond.
Sen. Damon Thayer talks about Senate Bill 5 before the Kentucky State Senate on Thursday, Sept....
Sen. Damon Thayer talks about Senate Bill 5 before the Kentucky State Senate on Thursday, Sept. 9.(WAVE 3 News)
Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 2:08 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 9, 2021 at 2:31 PM CDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Day three of Kentucky’s special legislative session consisted of five bills that could be passed by the end of the day.

One of those bills includes hundreds of millions of dollars allocated to a potential project in Hardin County.

Senate Bill 5, simultaneously known as House Bill 5, uses $410 million of appropriations to offer forgivable loans for economic development.

According to Sen. Julie Raque Adams, the result of the allocation of funds could be a minimum investment of $2 billion from an unnamed company for an unnamed project.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said Hardin County isn’t necessarily the only place that would benefit, saying there could be, “one, maybe more than one, significant development ... that you could see from the moon, and if we do not succeed in landing one of these projects, none of this money will be spent.”

The other four bills up for debate at the special session have been hotly contested. It can be a lot to handle for a freshman senator like David Yates.

“It’s been like drinking out of a fire hydrant,” Yates said.

However, House and Senate Bill 5 has widespread support on both sides of the aisle.

Yates said it can be beneficial not only to Hardin County but to areas around it, like Louisville.

“These types of investments, these types of major transformative projects can transform Kentucky from where we stand,” Yates said. “And now we’re still in competition, and nothing’s been done yet, but just to be in that fight, is a big part of that job.”

Some legislators argued that this bill helps large companies coming into Kentucky, but not the little ones that have been in the state for decades without this kind of support.

Supporters of the bill, at least some, have had to sign non-disclosure agreements and cannot discuss details about the potential project in Hardin County.

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