Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Signs Ford Bill

Press Release Date:  Friday, March 23, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher today signed House Bill 536, creating a new incentive program, the Jobs Retention Act, for use in continuing negotiations with Ford Motor Co.

The bill also provides an appropriation of $10 million in training money, which would be awarded through the Bluegrass State Skills Corporation (BSSC) for support of worker training programs at the two Ford facilities in Jefferson County. 

“This legislation makes it possible for us to go back to the table and continue negotiations with Ford using these new economic development tools,” said Governor Fletcher. “It is our goal to do everything we can to keep Louisville’s Ford plants not only in place but viable for the future.”

“This tax credit program and the training dollars will be used as part of our commitment to keeping Kentucky’s Ford employees working,” said Acting Economic Development Secretary Gene Fuqua.  “I appreciate the work of the Governor, the General Assembly, Mayor Jerry Abramson’s office and Greater Louisville Inc. in getting this legislation passed.”

The two Jefferson County plants have an estimated total annual recurring economic impact of more than $4 billion.  The two plants currently employ more than 8,000 people and the Ford employee compensation recurring annually is estimated to be more than $800 million including benefits.  There could be an indirect and induced employment impact of 40,000 lost jobs in the state if these plants do not stay viable. 

“I am very pleased the Governor has signed this fine piece of legislation,” said Sen. Dan Seum (R-Fairdale). “I look forward to seeing the relief the bill will bring to Ford Motor Company, and the economic impact that will follow.”

“Ford is important not just to Jefferson County, but to the whole state,” said Rep. Joni Jenkins (D- Shivley). “I was proud to be the primary sponsor of this bill.”

Curtis Magleby, Ford’s director of U.S., state and local government relations stated, “Passage of HB 536 sends a very strong message regarding Kentucky's desire to strengthen the long-standing partnership between Ford and the commonwealth. This show of support comes at a critical time for Ford as we continue to face unprecedented competitive challenges that shape our business.” 

In addition to the Jobs Retention Act and the training money intended to benefit Ford, the final form of the bill includes $8 million to BSSC for awards to other eligible companies in the commonwealth for training.