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Apple tax incentives approved

Williamson County passes rebate plan

Apple To Open Large Office In Austin, Texas
Apple’s current campus in north Austin
Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images

Tech giant Apple is set to receive large property tax rebates if it builds its new, $1 billion Austin campus in Williamson County as expected, KUT reported Tuesday night. While the 133-acre facility, which the company announced plans for last week, will be located in the city of Austin, the Robinson Ranch land where it is expected to build is in the metro area’s northern hinterlands, just across the Travis-Williamson county line.

Unlike in 2012, when the deal was made for the company’s second Austin facility, the city didn’t offer any monetary incentives for the expansion, but on Tuesday Williamson County Commissioners approved an incentive plan that could refund up to 65 percent of the company’s county property taxes over the next 15 years.

In addition to requiring that the new campus be built in Williamson County—the home of booming cities Round Rock and Georgetown as well all or as part of growing suburban areas such as Leander and Cedar Park—the plan includes job creation and other requirements be met before any refunds are made.

The undeveloped land under consideration—located about a mile from Austin’s second and largest Apple facility—currently has an agricultural tax exemption, meaning it provides negligible, if any, income to the county. The unanimously approved deal would allow Apple to receive a refund of up to 65 percent of the taxes it pays for its first 15 years if it meets the county’s incentive criteria. Commissioner Cynthia Long, Cedar Park’s representative, said the full tax bill for that time could be around $7 million and that the amount the county receives could increase substantially after the rebate period.

Commissioners hope the plan would eventually allow the county to reduce its tax rate in hopes of mitigating an expected rise in property values as Apple expands in the area, said County Judge Dan Gattis. He also expressed concerns about a possible affordability gap between county residents, depending on whether or not they work for the company.

Apple also stands to receive up to $25 million in taxpayer-funded grants from the state’s Texas Enterprise Fund based on a formula that involves measurement of job creation and investment at the site.

Williamson County Commissioners Unanimously Approve Tax Incentives For Apple [KUT]