Steel Mills

Arkansas Senate Offers Incentives to BRS to Expand

Written by Sandy Williams

Big River Steel received an incentive to expand operations after the passage of Arkansas Senate Bill 688. The new bill changes the existing law on income tax credits allowed for the purchase of waste reduction, reuse, or recycling equipment and provides tax incentives for steel mills that begin qualified expansion projects.

According to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, “qualified expansion projects” would require an investment of at least $1 billion by a company and the creation of 500 or more jobs with average wages of $75,000 per year. A “qualified steel specialty products manufacturing facility” would be required to invest $200 million and create at least 150 jobs at the $75,000 per year average wage.

Tax credits would reduce general revenue up to $11 million per year for the qualified expansion project and up to $6.5 million per year for qualified specialty products facilities. Tax credits would be applicable for 2021 if the project was completed by June 30, 2020.

The incentives are meant to encourage Big River Steel to make expansions in Arkansas and not Texas.

“When we do this, we bring the second phase to the Arkansas Delta,” said Sen. David Wallace, R-Leachville.

The bill passed the Senate by 29-1 and will be sent to the House for consideration and vote. The incentives are applicable to all qualified manufacturers of steel.

Phase 1 of Big River Steel is completed and the company produced over 63,000 tons of steel in its first full month of production in February. Phase 2 is expected to be a $500-$600 million separate, stand-alone finishing complex followed closely by Phase 3, another EAF and caster which would take the capacity of Big River from 1.6 million tons annually to more than 3 million tons.

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