Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Commissioners approve key incentives in Apple deal

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TWC News: Commissioners approve key incentives in Apple deal
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Travis County Commissioners agreed to the key terms of a contract with Apple Tuesday.

The agreement allots Apple a 60 percent tax rebate, or discount on its property taxes over 10 years if it complies with the following:

• Build the facility in the time allotted in two phases, with the first being completed by Dec. 2015, the second by Dec. 2021.

• Create 3,600 new jobs.

• An additional 5 percent rebate will be added if 50 percent of the new job hires are of people within Travis County.

• Another 5 percent is added if the facility is LEED certified, or up to green building standards.

"We're talking $6.4 million of abatement over 15 years. That is worth it. We'll far more get that back. To me, it's worth it to have a positive working relationship with a company like Apple," Commissioner Karen Huber said. "The impact of a global company like Apple brings to the area, far-reaching positive impacts beyond just the number of jobs they're going to bring. There will be other businesses that will come and support Apple."

One item taken out of the agreement was an incentive to hire economically disadvantaged citizens, which is why Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt voted against it.

"These are the folks who could benefit the most from your jobs at Apple,” she said. “I heard today for the first time that Apple was no longer willing to consider this commitment and therefore I'm no longer willing to entertain relieving Apple of its tax responsibilities."

The City of Austin also approved incentives for Apple. The Tech giant is planning to expand its operations within the city.

A full contract will be brought back for the commissioners to approve. Apple plans to begin hiring for the new jobs in 2014.

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