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FastTrack grants of $21.7M reach 21 businesses

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(The Center Square) – Tennessee has handed out $21.7 million in FastTrack business incentive grants so far this year through April to a total of 21 businesses.

The Department of Economic and Community Development’s FastTrack grant program are state grants sent to companies to help offset the costs of expanding or moving into the state with the goal of increasing the number of full-time jobs and the average wages of jobs available in an area.

The development arm has $91.6 million in uncommitted funds in its account with $519.3 million committed to projects.

The largest project so far this year is $6.5 million to Greenheck Fan Corp.’s new Knoxville facility, part of $14 million in incentives approved at the Tennessee Funding Board’s meeting last week.

The largest since 2016 are $78 million to Ultium Cells LLC in Spring Hill and $65 million to Oracle in Nashville, both announced in 2021.

The department justifies the incentives based upon new jobs that the businesses will bring to the state, announcing the average hourly wage for the new jobs and comparing it to the mean hourly wage of the county.

Economists question the effectiveness of financial incentives to private businesses to expand or come to a new state.

The use of hourly wage as an indicator is questioned because high salaries of a few corporate leaders can skew the average higher while it would not have the same impact on the mean wage.