Deal to give Dow Agro successor $30M in incentives rankles some councilors

A panel of City-County Council members on Monday advanced a plan to provide Corteva Agriscience with $30 million in incentives to maintain operations in Indianapolis, but not before several councilors expressed their objections.

Corteva is the agriculture division of DowDuPont, which was formed last year in a $62 billion merger between Dow Chemical and DuPont. The Wilmington, Delaware-based division—which includes the local operations of Dow AgroSciences—is set to be spun off as a public company in June 2019. Corteva employs about 1,400 workers in Indianapolis.

The deal would authorize the issuance of $30 million in economic development revenue notes to Corteva from the city of Indianapolis, which would be paid back by about $5 million annually in tax increment financing funds that the city had been passing through to government units like schools, libraries, parks, police and fire protection. Those entities would no longer receive those funds during the length of the note.

The deal has been brewing since 2016, when Dow and Dupont merged. At the time, Indianapolis officials were afraid the city would lose the jobs and investment Dow Agro had previously made. The incentive package has been delayed until now because of the various legal loopholes the Dow-DuPont merger had to go through.

Under the incentive deal, Corteva will be required to retain its workforce for 10 years. There is an incentive clawback included in the proposal if Corteva does not maintain the jobs.

A representative from Corteva, Rajan Gajaria, said the firm was currently not at risk of leaving the city.

The council’s Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee moved the proposal forward to the full council on an 8-3 vote, despite the objections of a group of City-County council members who said they were concerned about what the deal would mean for other businesses and schools.

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