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It could cost Wisconsin millions to win the competition for GM's new plant

Taxpayers already own most of General Motors and Wisconsinites might have to shell out hundreds of millions more if it wants the company's new plant for small cars.

Janesville; Orion, Mich.; and Spring Hill, Tenn., are the finalists.

And the governor of Tennessee doubts it can afford what GM wants.

Phil Bredesen wouldn't say how much the bankrupt auto-maker is seeking. But he says hundreds of millions of dollars would be "the low end of the range."

Bredesen said the bankrupt auto-maker asked his state for a large cash payment upfront, as opposed to its normal assistance which includes tax credits, job training and infrastructure.

The Democrat Bredesen says GM doesn't care about any of that - and all they want to know is "how big of a check you're going to write."

Tennessee's governor said he got the impression that GM would base its decision on the merits of each site without a bidding war.

But Bredesen said "I was wrong."

And he said GM's request is "well outside" what Tennessee could do in light of its budget situation.

GM was originally planning to open a factory for small cars in China, but it later agreed to build it in the U.S. in a union contract concession.

Wisconsin's federal lawmakers met with GM execs this week, and were told a decision on the plant's location would be made soon.

The lawmakers did not say anything about what the company wanted.