Austin City Council
7:09 am
Fri March 8, 2013

National Instruments Gets $1.7 Million to Expand (Update)

Update: The Austin City Council voted 7-0 Thursday night to give National Instruments almost $1.7 million in incentives. In exchange, the company will expand and create at least 1,000 jobs . 

National Instruments representatives spoke at the council meeting Thursday night, outlining the benefits the city would see. But some local citizens were not convinced, claiming it is not fair to give large companies incentives but to not offer them to local citizens. They also claimed the money could be used elsewhere, something Mayor Lee Leffingwell contested:

"The fact is, if we didn't approve this agreement we couldn't spend that money somewhere else because it wouldn't be there," Leffingwell said. "This money comes from that agreement."

Leffingwell said the city has made money on every incentive agreement it has made since he took office. City staff estimated this deal would make Austin $7.1 million over the next 10 years. Watch the 50-minute discussion of the deal below:

Original Post (March 7, 5:32 a.m.): The Austin City Council is thinking about paying a $3.8 billion company to expand its operations in the city, and later today, they’re inviting the public to weigh in on the proposal.

National Instruments is already headquartered in Austin and employs 2,440 people here.  Under the economic development proposal before City Council, the company would receive an estimated $1.67 million over the next decade to expand even further. 

The new research and development facility would cost National Instruments about $80 million to build and lead to the creation of at least 1,000 jobs, according to city staff.

National Instruments promises all those new employees will receive at least $11 dollars an hour, including the construction workers who build the 300,000 square foot facility.

The public hearing on the proposed economic incentives deal will start after 4 p.m. today at Austin City Hall.