Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, a Finance Committee member in whose district the Volkswagen plant is going, said Wednesday he and other Republicans want to see if federal stimulus funds might be used to cover all or part of the state’s commitments instead of issuing bonds.
The senator, who has not signed on as a sponsor of the bond bill, said issuing bonds would be a departure from recent state policy. But he emphasized he and other Republicans fully intend to honor state obligations to Volkswagen and Hemlock.
“We are committed and I believe everyone on the Finance Committee is committed that all of this is going to be taken care of,” he said. “This is a question of the methodology, how do we go about fulfilling that commitment?”
Noting the state is spending large sums for VW, which is building a $1 billion facility, and for Hemlock, which plans a $1.2 billion plant, Rep. Fitzhugh said other areas of the state could use the stimulus funds.
Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, a bill co-sponsor, called the state obligations “critical” to Chattanooga and said, “I will be fighting for any mechanism that brings jobs to the Chattanooga area.”