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HID Global still not committed to Austin

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TWC News: HID Global still not committed to Austin
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Despite a small rally outside the Travis County Administration Building Tuesday, commissioners did not require manufacturing company HID Global to follow prevailing wage or living wage standards.

Living wage requires minimum pay of $12 an hour. Prevailing wage varies based on the trade, and would come into play during the construction of a plant near Interstate-35 and Parmer Lane.

Instead, HID Global is required to have average annual salaries of at least $44,000 the first year it's open, increasing to $53,000 after 10 years.

"All we are asking is that workers earn a fair and decent wage in exchange for our tax dollars, and that we ensure good, safe jobs for those that are building for HID Global," Cristina Tzintzun with the Workers Defense Project said.

Commissioners passed the package 3-to-1—with Commissioner Margaret Gomez off the dais and Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt voting no.

Commissioner Eckhardt says she disagrees with the notion the economic incentive packages actually spur growth and help taxpayers, which is why she says she voted no.

"I'd much rather attract companies with a well-educated, happy, healthy and appropriately compensated workforce," Eckhardt said.

Commissioner Huber disagrees—she cites comments from Austin Community College representatives about a need to grow the local manufacturing sector.

"There is a niche here that is needed, that this particular industry will really fill,” she said.

Huber also says the benefit to local school districts and the job sector outweigh nearly $4 million in government incentives.

Last week, Austin City Council approved more than $900,000 in grants based on performance goals. That's in addition to $1.9 million the state's offering from the Texas Enterprise Fund.

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