The Austin-based electric car company Tesla wants to leverage an expiring state tax incentive program to build what could be the nation’s first plant that produces battery-grade lithium hydroxide, which electric cars require for energy storage purposes. Tesla applied for a tax break under a state program that would enable the company to potentially avoid millions in property taxes to build the projected $375 million plant in Nueces County.

The program, referred to as Chapter 313 after its section in the state’s tax code, was designed to incentivize businesses to set up shop in Texas by offering 10-year property tax breaks. A bipartisan group of legislators ensured that what has become Texas’ largest corporate tax incentive program would not continue after it’s set to expire at the end of 2022.

The impending end of Chapter 313 has touched off a rush of applicants, state officials testified at a legislative hearing this week, as the state’s energy and manufacturing companies try to lock in massive property tax breaks before time runs out.

This article was written by WILLIAM MELHADO AND KAREN BROOKS HARPER of The Texas Tribune.  The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.  This article originally appeared at: