The Austin City Council approved an estimated $8.6 million in tax breaks for tech-giant Apple last night.
The incentives – taking the form of tax rebates over the next 10 years –encourage Apple to expand its operations in Austin. Governor Rick Perry’s Texas Enterprise Fund already offered Apple incentives of $21 million. Travis County is said to be considering additional incentives as well.
Apple says it will create over 3,600 new jobs in Austin, and invest millions in a new “Americas Operations Center” in Northwest Austin. Apple’s government liaison Mike Foulkes noted it would be the “first ground up campus outside of California in the world.”
Several speakers were critical of the incentives, citing the city’s recent budgetary issues, and Apple’s status as the world’s richest company. Additional speakers called for stringent worker safety guidelines on the construction site. City Council Member Mike Martinez offered an amendment specifying that Apple and its contractors would make “commercially reasonable efforts to work with the Workers Defense Project on” on construction guidelines, which was accepted.
The vote passed unanimously.