Apple’s new glass plant in Arizona has finally received the official seal of approval from the local government and some newly released documents reveal that in order to lure the tech behemoth to the Valley of the Sun, the Arizona Commerce Authority sweetened the pot by offering Apple a $10 million grant, plus some tax incentives.
The Gilbert Public School Board was the last of eight entities to approve the tax breaks for Apple, who plans to build a high-tech glass manufacturing plant in Mesa that will bring over 700 jobs to the area plus an additional 1,300 construction jobs while the plant is being built. According to one third-party economic study, Apple’s investment is estimated to generate more than $102 million in tax revenue over five years.
In order for Apple to get the tax breaks promised by Governor Jan Brewer, the property for the plant needed to be re-zoned to be included in the airport’s foreign-trade zone, and required approval from the eight entities that levy taxes on the property.
Seven of the entities rushed to approve the Apple incentives but the deal was nearly killed thanks to members of the Gilbert School Board – an area where the Tea Party has become highly influential in recent years – who opposed giving a tax break to America’s largest corporation just to lure them into the area.
The school board had to postpone its vote on the tax breaks after two of the five members were opposed to it last week, but eventually they came around to understand that having Apple move in would generate an extra $2.5million in funding for the school district, than if the council voted to let the building remain vacant.
To build its plant, Apple paid $113 million for a vacant plant built by First Solar Inc. that was originally intended to be used to make solar panels, but went belly up. The agreement is being called Projected Cascade and its estimated that Apple’s capital investment will total more than $1.5billion with an average wage not less than $45,000.