As Volkswagen’s troubles escalated internationally on Tuesday, state Sen. Bo Watson called for a legislative committee hearing “at the earliest possible date” to consider possible impact within Tennessee, where lawmakers honored Gov. Bill Haslam’s request for $165 million in incentive payments to Volkswagen earlier this year.
“While all of the relevant facts may remain unreported at this time, I am very concerned as to the financial impact these violatons could present to the State of Tennessee,” Watson wrote Senate Finance Committee Chairman Randy McNally in a letter distributed to media Tuesday.
“It therefore seems prudent and responsible that the Finance, Ways and Means Committee of the Tennessee Senate consider a public meeting to hear testimony from Volkswagen and state officials as to the impact upon Tennessee’s investment in Volkswagen,” Watson said.
McNally said later, according to a Senate Republican Caucus spokeswoman, that he “will schedule a hearing as soon as we coordinate with committee members and the other parties involved.”
Watson, R-Hixson, represents a portion of Hamilton County, where Volkswagen has built a major facility and received huge payments for doing so from the state.
Here’s an AP story on Volkswagen’s troubles, filed about the same time Watson’s letter was sent:
BERLIN (AP) — Volkswagen AG’s smog-test scandal escalated Tuesday as the company issued a profit warning, set aside billions to cover the fallout and lost billions more in market value. VW’s CEO said he is “endlessly sorry” that the world’s top-selling carmaker has squandered worldwide trust in its brand.
The rapid-fire developments came as Volkwagen stunningly admitted that some 11 million of the German carmaker’s diesel vehicles worldwide contain software that evades emissions controls, not just the half a million cars that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said violate the Clean Air Act.
Volkswagen also warned that future profits could be affected, and set aside an initial 6.5 billion euros ($7.3 billion) to cover the fallout.