Apple’s gets $41 million in incentives for new Austin campus

“Williamson County leaders on Tuesday unanimously approved a taxpayer-funded incentives package for Apple that could be worth up to $16 million, solidifying the tech giant’s plan to invest $1 billion in a new campus in North Austin and add up to 5,000 jobs,” Nicole Cobler reports for The Statesman.

“In just 30 minutes, Williamson County commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the deal, which the county estimates could amount to about $16 million in reimbursements to Apple over the span of its 15-year term,” Cobler reports. “Apple is also in line to get up to $25 million in incentives payments from the state-run Texas Enterprise Fund.”

“The incentives deal would rebate 65 percent of Apple’s annual property tax bill for 15 years. The agreement requires Apple to invest $400 million in the site over that time, as well as hire 4,000 workers by the deal’s 12th anniversary,” Cobler reports. “Apple last week announced plans to invest $1 billion in a new Austin campus and add 5,000 workers to its Central Texas payroll. Site preparation is scheduled to start next year for the 133-acre corporate campus, which is about 1 mile from its current location at Parmer Lane. The new campus could eventually accommodate up to 15,000 workers, Apple said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Excellent job voting correctly, and unanimously, for these incentives, Williamson County commissioners and congrats to North Austin, Williamson County, and the surrounding area!

Apple shows how to select new tech hub locations with class – December 14, 2018
What Apple’s new U.S. job additions tell us about their future product plans – December 14, 2018
Apple to build new $1 billion, 133-acre campus in Austin and add jobs across America – December 13, 2018


  1. Exactly why should any government subsidize the operation of a highly profitable company like Apple by handing out money, rebating employee taxes (a not uncommon practice) or tax abatements?

    If your business model is sound you do not need subsidy. Last time I checked, Apple is very profitable and has money to pay clueless Eddie Cue despite the fact he has mucked up about everything he has touched in recent years.

    Companies should not be heavily taxed but should also not get subsidies from any level of government.

    1. Typically short-sighted, knee-jerk Dem/Lib/Prog ignorance.

      To quote MacDailyNews from early this year: “Of course, there are many benefits to whichever locale lands an Apple campus, including increased economic activity to myriad area businesses (vehicles, housing, restaurants, groceries, utilities, etc.), local taxes (sales, income, property, etc.), increased real estate values, and much more.”

      1. What is that economic stance called, First?
        I.e. We believe in capitalism, the free market and small government – except that the government should give shitloads of taxpayer money to large, rich companies.

        1. I find myself in the odd position of agreeing with First here. I only know about this particular deal from what I read in the papers, but I negotiated or reviewed dozens of these agreements when I was working for a Central Texas county.

          Williamson County isn’t giving Apple anything. It is agreeing to rebate up to 65% of the property tax paid by Apple if—and only if—it meets specified goals for building, hiring, average salaries, and infrastructure impact mitigation. Those benefits are worth a lot more than the maximum $15 million or so that might be rebated over the life of the agreement. By the way, the current owner of the undeveloped land paid a whopping $79 in county taxes last year (no, that is not a misprint; seventy-nine dollars and no cents).

          Texas counties do not have zoning authority or most other land-use regulation powers. Agreements like these are one of the few ways that they can manage sustainable development. Without this particular agreement, this tract might remain a badly eroded ranch that contributes a few hundred dollars per year to the local economy, or it might be carved up into multi-family housing that would overwhelm the local infrastructure without generating enough tax revenue to cover the cost of services.

          This is not a giveaway.

      2. Easy with the judgment and be wary of hypocrisy, Mr. First. I’m nothing close to the description you used above, btw. Since when does a financial conservative, with a free market mindset, advocate the state-ist move of taking other people’s money to sweeten the deal for a don’t-need-it company like Apple?

        1. To repeat, this isn’t “other people’s money.” It is a rebate to Apple of a portion of Apple’s money previously paid to the county. Without this deal, the county would only have the $79/year in taxes it is collecting on this property now. With the deal, it will get to keep millions of dollars in taxes. More importantly, the county can dictate how rapidly the property is developed and how many high-paying jobs will be created. That power is easily worth $15 million.

          If Williamson County were not offering the incentives, it would not receive those extra benefits… even if Apple chose to build the plant anyway. Which it would not. Some other location would offer lower costs to offset the benefits and Apple would go there.

        2. With all due respect, TxUser, all money that a county or city has in its budget is by definition tax proceeds of the citizens. To redistribute that money via contract for the primary benefit of the richest corporation on the planet is the height of crony capitalism. Extreme righties will twist the narrative to say that the gross misuse of funds will “trickle down” to citizens, but we all know how small the trickle is when it reaches the average worker. His costs of living will shoot up, and his wage will barely budge up. Eddy Cue will flip another Tahoe mansion, and in 5 years we might see Apple shit out an all new Mac. This is a disgusting trend in business today.

        3. With all due respect, Mike, the money only gets to the county budget if it is paid in the first place. Until then, it belongs to the potential taxpayer and the county gets no say in how it is distributed.

          Apple can choose to locate pretty much anyplace it likes. If it does not build this plant, the county will keep getting 100% of $79.00/year. If it does build the plant, the county will get 35% of roughly $1,500,000.00/year. That money can be used (and under state law must be used) directly to provide better services or lower taxes for the residents of the county.

          There is no “trickle down” involved in that, although the impact of inserting several thousand high-income families into the local economy (as required under the agreement, but not otherwise) will have those secondary effects. The county officials, with advice from some of the best financial advisors available to them, concluded that those benefits were worth the price.

          This is not the case of just lowering Apple’s taxes without any incentive to spend the savings on something other than stock buybacks or Tahoe mansions. Somebody else already did that.

        4. The money NOT paid by Apple will be paid by other taxpayers struggling to make ends meet in this land of high property taxes. The money will be used to build infrastructure for Apple’s new plant, to educate Apple’s employee’s children, et. cetera.

          Not to mention the Apple employees will bid up prices for homes in Austin, drive up property taxes, and add to overcrowded highways.

          Up yours Apple, and the politicians that sold out the rest of us to bring you to Central Texas.

        5. Gary, I realize you are mostly just making rhetorical points, but some facts might be relevant: Apple will be paying 100% of its school taxes to the Round Rock Independent School District. It will also be paying 100% of its City of Austin taxes and development fees that go for police, fire, EMS, and most off-site infrastructure. The main access to the property is a state ranch-to-market highway, and Apple will be paying 100% of its state taxes.

          Williamson County will be receiving a half-million dollars a year, even after the rebates, and that will easily cover all of its actual expenses related to this property. Admittedly, Apple will not generate a huge surplus to cover other county expenses for the first 15 years, but it will be collecting millions each year after that.

          I hate the tacky aspects of growth in Central Texas at least as much as you do, but I am long past regarding it as avoidable. All that the area governments can do is manage the growth. Having responsible employers like Apple providing well-paying jobs is preferable to having nothing but McDonalds jobs serving bedroom communities. The people are going to come, but what people?

      3. @ First 2014, Then 2016 :

        You have no principles. You are simply an attack dog for the GOP.

        How interesting it is to see you bend your twisted narrative to support corporate welfare for multinational companies that produce their products in Communist China, park billions overseas in tax havens of their own creation, and allow their home nation’s infrastructure to rust — at least, anything out of sight distance of their ivory tower in a liberal coastal city.

        Then you turn around and scream bloody murder if any government “redistributes” wealth by offering education, health, or other services to voting citizens who have worked hard and played by the rules their whole lives, being given crumbs compared to the insane riches that wall street traders and corporate executives steal for themselves.

        Then to top it all off, you worship the slimiest “businessman”-cum-president that has ever set foot in the White House. Did the Trump Foundation give you laundered money for all your trolling efforts?

    2. Did anyone read the article? The county elected official said they did it because they felt they had to show they did something to attract the business. The professor studying the subject said Apple would likely have chosen the location without abatements.

      And, I wholeheartedly am opposed to subsidies and abatements, etc., but this wasn’t a case of Apple shopping for abatements. The $41M is a tiny fraction of what they could have gotten if they had gone public with their search like Amazon.

      1. Isn’t it possible that the county officials who have been negotiating with Apple for months might know more about the deal than the professor? The members of the Commissioners Court all have decades of experience in running private businesses themselves; four of the five are very conservative Republicans.

        To repeat: yes, Apple might have picked the site without the abatement, but the abatements are all that give the affected governments any power over how the development proceeds. Try to think of the money as the county and state investment in a public-private partnership that guarantees that Apple will use the land for a billion-dollar plant in a timely fashion, rather than just banking the property for future expansion while continuing to pay $79/year in taxes on worn-out ranch land.

        Williamson County has grown from roughly 50,000 people to over a half-million in the last fifty years. Most of the newcomers commute to jobs in Austin. It needs a local industrial tax base to finance government services for all those residential areas. The deal with Apple will provide that.

        1. Uhm, as I said, did you read the article? The county official also implied in his comment that the tax abatement might not have been necessary, but that they had to offer something, presumably to show the voters that they are actively pursuing employers.

        2. KenC,

          Of course I read the article. After you asked the question, I went back to reread the entire article (and the articles it cross-references) twice. I don’t see anything even vaguely resembling the comment you cite. The County Judge, who was the chief negotiator on this project, is retiring in two weeks, so I don’t think he is too worried about the voters.

          Until just before the public announcement, nobody on the Court even knew that the buyer was Apple. That is pretty standard on these deals. All the government entity is told is that it is “a large company” with the resources to hold up its side of the bargain.

    1. Apple has offices in the leading cities of practically every country of the world to enable software localization, etc. Cook is Mr. China, running at least 4 major “R&D” centers there.

      It has many subsidiaries (Braeburn Capital, Bramley General Partnership, Akane LLC, Baldwin Holdings Unlimited, Gravenstein Inc.) that the average techie doesn’t know about in addition to its more public recent acquisitions (Beats) and longtime subsidiaries (FileMaker). And like all US corporations, it launders money internationally through shell companies scattered around the world (in Apple’s case, Apple Operations International and the many aforementioned subsidiaries that you never hear about all route money via a “Double Dutch Irish Sandwich with a skip through the Caribbean”). Just like the average citizen does, right? Oh, you mean you don’t get to enjoy privileged tax free banking? Tell us the economic game is not rigged!

      Apple sites (partial list)

      Culver City
      Menlo Park
      Palo Alto
      Sacramento (Elk Grove)
      San Francisco
      San Jose
      Santa Clara
      Santa Monica

      OTHER US
      Austin TX
      Maiden NC
      Marlborough, MA
      Melbourne, FL
      Newark, DE
      Portland OR
      Reno NV
      Richmond, VA

      NON US
      Abu Dhabi
      British Virgin Islands
      Hong Kong
      Kuala Lumpur
      London (Stockley Park)
      Mexico City
      New Delhi
      New York City
      Sao Paulo
      Toronto (Markham)

  2. On behalf of North Austin and Williamson County, I accept you congratulations. But, the writing was on the wall, Apple has been moving employees to Austin for some time. Cupertino is just too expensive to live in.

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