One of the big pieces of local news last week was Porsche’s announcement that it would relocate its North American headquarters from Sandy Springs down to the old Ford plant near the airport. The move can be measured by more than the 22 miles from North Fulton to South Fulton: The old HQ was a rental, while the new one will be a $100 million facility that includes a test track and an employment boost of as many as 200 new jobs.
And if you’ve followed these sorts of deals before, your first inclination may have been to wonder how much this expansion will cost local and state taxpayers by way of an incentive package.
The answer, according to the AJC’s Rachel Tobin: About $14 million.
The incentive package includes $1.75 million in job tax credits from Georgia, $400,000 in infrastructure improvements from the Department of Transportation, and discretionary money from the Regional Economic Business Assistance Program, or REBA, said Alison Tyrer, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Economic Development. The REBA grant, with a city of Atlanta match, is expected to be about $1 million.
The package also includes city of Atlanta incentives. The Ford site is in an urban enterprise zone, and related tax abatements could net Porsche an estimated $11 million over the next 10 years, said Amanda Shailendra of the Atlanta Development Authority.
That $14 million works out to more than $36,000 per job if employment reaches 400 (the 200 already employed in metro Atlanta stood to be lost if Porsche moved out of state). The chief executive of Porsche Cars North America told the AJC that other states made “very, very aggressive and attractive offers” to lure the company away from Georgia.
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Georgia isn’t shy about using tax breaks and other incentives as part of its economic development efforts. Undoubtedly, some numbers will be thrown out in meetings during the next two weeks as Gov. Nathan Deal courts investments from companies in Britain, Germany and Austria. On the other hand, the city and state appear ready to stand by and watch if the Atlanta Thrashers hockey team is sold to investors who want to move the team to Winnipeg.
Should the state or local governments use tax incentives to lure or keep businesses and jobs? Answer in the comments thread and in the poll to the left.
– By Kyle Wingfield