NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Gov. Phil Bredesen on Thursday expressed doubt about whether Tennessee can afford the financial demands from General Motors Corp. to select its Spring Hill plant to build a new small car.
The Democratic governor said it became clear in meetings with GM officials this week that the bankrupt automaker wants a large cash payment from Tennessee to pick Spring Hill over Orion, Mich., or Janesville, Wis.
Tennessee's incentive packages are usually heavy on long-term tax credits, training and infrastructure improvements. Bredesen said the state doesn't have "a lot of spare money available to make large upfront payments."
The governor wouldn't specify how much money GM was asking for, but said that hundreds of millions of dollars would be "the low end of the range."
"Frankly, the numbers they are talking about are well outside what I think we can do today in terms of the budget situation we have," Bredesen said.
Bredesen's early impression from GM officials had been that the company would make its decision based on the merits of each existing plant without igniting a bidding war.
"I was wrong," Bredesen said. "It certainly was a new look for me at how they are approaching this thing, which is absolutely 'Tell me how big of a check you're going to write,'" Bredesen said.