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An Apple server farm could soon be coming to recession-stricken North Carolina. In return, North Carolina hopes to hand Apple tax breaks which could total $300M USD over the next 30 years.  (Source: Wahaha wu)
NC officials hope to lure Apple server farm to the state

As one of the most financially successful companies in this recession economy, Apple makes a popular target for taxation.  However, recession stricken North Carolina plans to go the opposite route, hoping to lure a huge Apple server farm into the state in exchange for a massive tax break that could total as much as $300M USD over its lifetime.

Both Apple and state officials declined comment, but a state lawmaker speaking on conditions of anonymity revealed that the state is in talks with Apple over a facility to be built in either Catawba or Cleveland County, an investment that could total as much as $1B USD by the time construction completes. 

In lieu of the proposed deal, NC's House Finance Committee approved changes to the way in which corporate income taxes are calculated.  The state plans to give breaks to companies who only make a small share of their total nationwide sales in the state, but have a large portion of their payroll and property in the state.  The proposed cuts do come with some strict conditions; the companies must be located in one of North Carolina's poorest counties, provide health insurance, meet a wage standard, and forego other state grants or tax breaks.

Rep. Paul Luebke, D-Durham praised the measure, stating, "The bill ensures it's going to go to an area of high unemployment. This reflects concerns many of us have had about economic development policy, that priority should be given to the neediest counties."

A memo by legislative fiscal staffers reveals that the initial tax breaks could total $46M USD for a company investing $1B USD.  The memo declines to mention the specific company that the state is reportedly in talks with.  The memo does say that only one company has the potential to qualify for the breaks.

If the bill is approved, Apple may join a growing tech corridor stretching from Raleigh to Greensboro.  In 2007 Google Inc. began building a $600M USD server farm outside Lenoir in the western North Carolina foothills.  The center opened this year.

Google will receive $260M USD in tax breaks over the next 30 years, in one of the state's largest deals yet.  Apple's deal could be even fatter, though.  The memo indicated that the company being considered could save $300M USD in tax cuts over the next 30 years.  The estimated breaks would comprise of $3 million from 2011 to 2018, and then $12.5 million each year after that.

The Apple site initially hopes to employ only 100 workers, but state officials believe it could grow into many more jobs.  The state, which has a 10.8 percent unemployment rate, is desperate for jobs.  Four non-urban counties in North Carolina have unemployment rates greater than 16 percent.

The bill has passed the Senate and awaits a full House vote on Tuesday.  Rep. Jennifer Weiss, D-Wake, said of the bill, "Given our economic situation in this state, with the rising unemployment, this really is critical."

The new Apple server farm would likely be used to serve among other things Apple's App Store and Mac-tied email accounts.  Ironically North Carolina moved earlier this year to tax digital downloads, a business Apple, with its iTunes and App Store, is deeply vested in.



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RE: Feds should step in
By AlexWade on 5/25/2009 2:51:39 PM , Rating: 1
What you forget is that once the contract is up, these big businesses will relocate to another sucker state willing to give them a tax break. In North Carolina, the tax break Dell received would take decades (decades plural) to recoup from the employees and remaining tax on the company. By the time the money is recouped, Dell will negotiate with another state or threaten to leave unless given more tax breaks.

In short, no matter what, the state will not come out ahead. The state is still in the negative in tax revenue from the Dell plant.


RE: Feds should step in
By aftlizard on 5/25/2009 5:25:27 PM , Rating: 3
Okay so let me get this straight:

If I offer a company a 300 million dollar tax break over thirty years which essentially reduces the potential tax income from , let's say, 400 million to 100 million that I as a state am worse off than if I didn't offer a tax break at all and that business goes elsewhere and I lose all of that money entirely.

Yeah that does not make sense.

Let's not forget the other secondary taxes that are not reduced. That are likely not even calculated in your Dell scenario.

I lived in a city where two major plants received ten tax abatements and every ten years they came back for more, and then again. Of course there were the steaming mad locals etc. who occasionally opened up and argued that it was ridiculous to give them tax abatements etc. However a ten year study released showed that property taxes decreased over that time while property tax receipts increased, payroll and state income tax receipts from that area increased and local sales tax receipts increased. All of those added up more than paid for the tax abatements. However quite possibly none of those secondary tax receipt increases would have happened if those abatements weren't allowed. In fact if the population stagnated or even decreased over that time period local taxes would potentially have had to increase because of local services and infrastructure maintenance.


RE: Feds should step in
By Alexstarfire on 5/25/2009 6:30:53 PM , Rating: 2
It's hard to say much without knowing actual numbers.


RE: Feds should step in
By just4U on 5/25/2009 7:18:48 PM , Rating: 2
If all states had a standardized tax system then they wouldn't lose money at all.. (provided the companies didn't re-locate out of the country)

The way I see these deals is the company wins, that particular state wins but the country as a whole loses as it's not bringing in what it should be in the larger scheme of things.


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