Gov. Tina Kotek plans to give $90 million to Intel next month, in the first publicly announced expenditure in an effort to boost semiconductor activity in the state. But details about what the money will pay for were hard to come by Monday.
Kotek announced the allotment from the newly created Oregon CHIPS Fund in a notice to top lawmakers.
”After careful consideration and review of an application submitted to the Governor’s Office,” the memo said, “we intend to approve an award in the amount of $90 million to Intel on August 30, 2023.”
The notice, required under state law, did not include additional details about Intel’s application or whether the money will be a grant or loan. The governor’s office did not immediately provide specifics when asked.
But the announcement represents a major piece of the $260 million lawmakers set aside during this year’s legislative session to help semiconductor companies pay for expansion projects within Oregon. The state has been accepting applications since June 19, but has kept details of the proposals closely guarded.
The hope is that Intel and other companies can leverage that money into larger tax breaks and financial incentives from the federal government as part of the $52 billion CHIPS and Science Act passed last year.
Elly Akopyan, a spokeswoman for Intel, did not answer questions Monday about what the company plans to use the money for, offering only a general statement of support for state subsidies. Intel is Oregon’s largest private employer and has tens of thousands of employees in Washington County.
State Rep. Janelle Bynum, D-Clackamas, who chaired a committee that created the state semiconductor subsidy, said Monday she did not know the specifics of Intel’s application. Senate President Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego, one of the lawmakers to receive Kotek’s notice, also didn’t know additional details, a spokesman said.
Lawmakers made bolstering Oregon’s vaunted semiconductor industry a key goal during this year’s legislative session. In April, the Legislature passed a bill setting aside $210 million to assist companies with expansion and to allow Kotek the unprecedented power to alter growth boundaries around cities if necessary to make way for a project. Lawmakers kicked an additional $50 million to the cause at the end of the session and passed a tax credit for semiconductor companies that expand research and development activity in Oregon.