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Apple 'frustrated' as plans for new Austin, Tex., facility are 'in peril'

post #1 of 77
Thread Starter 
Doubt has been cast on Apple's plans for a new facility in Austin, Tex., after a local official has claimed the project is "in peril" because of delays.

In March, the Austin City Council approved a grant worth $8.6 million for Apple to expand its offices and create as many as 3,600 new jobs in the city. Apple has proposed to invest $304 million and more than double the size of its workforce in Texas.

But this week, Dave Porter, senior vice president for economic development at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, said those plans are now in doubt, according to The Statesman. He said the problems stem from the county government, which has allegedly been holding up the deal by asking for new conditions tied to the financial incentives.

"The deal is not done," Porter said. "It remains in peril, and Apple is frustrated."

Though the city rubber stamped its $8.6 million grant more than a month ago, the Travis County Commissioners Court remains undecided on its own incentives. The court gave initial approval for between $5.4 million and $6.4 million earlier this month, but a vote for final approval has been pushed back until next week.

Attorney Bill Aleshire criticized the proposed contract with Apple as "sorry," and suggested the company "rigged" the deal so that they wouldn't have to comply with the county's terms.

Apple Austin facility
Apple's facilities in Austin, Texas, via WebProNews.


Porter said he and the chamber are "disappointed" that the Commissioners Court couldn't finalize their deal this week. But he added that they are "hopeful" it will become official at a meeting scheduled for next Tuesday.

Apple's plans call for its new facility to be built on 38 acres of land with at least one million square feet of office space. It would function as Apple's new "Americas Operations Center."

Local officials initially chose to be aggressive in courting Apple and offering incentives because the company was looking at other potential locations for the facility. It was said that Phoenix, Ariz., was another city Apple was considering.
post #2 of 77

Shouldn't that read "Chamber of Commerce frustrated as County screws with plans, pretending they have a clue how Apple feels"

 

Really they likely have no idea what Apple feels about this. A big company like Apple is used to local governments playing games with them. And they deal with it. Maybe they are mad, maybe they aren't. Maybe they are frustrated, maybe they aren't. Maybe today they will put it out there that the deal was made and it will be signed as is or they will take the facility to somewhere else that won't try to play 23rd hour games. Or maybe they won't. 

post #3 of 77

Tell Austin to take a hike.  If some people can't get it together, then adios.

post #4 of 77

apple doesn't need my advice but none the less,  they should tell the

money grubbing austin tx politicians that they can shove austin.

 

that $300+ million would receive a warm welcome in more cities than can be

counted.  they are in north carolina now.  what about south carolina.  they

would be welcome with open arms.

post #5 of 77
go texas!... go big or go Home. or is that put up a big fuss, then go home...
LOL. we don't need no stinkin' Apple building here or taxes, or jobs...

on a similiar topic..(in a far-far away place compared to Texas). funny story; a co-gen plant has been bulit in missisauga on the north side of the 401 ... it was to be built on the south side directly across from where it is now... why ? in seems that mississauga wanted taxes( or conditions not sure) that were too onerous... so they moved to the other side of the highway, which is in another district and built there! Does not happen often, i laughed at this story when i heard about it.
post #6 of 77

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezduzit View Post

apple doesn't need my advice but none the less,  they should tell the

money grubbing austin tx politicians that they can shove austin.

 

that $300+ million would receive a warm welcome in more cities than can be

counted.  they are in north carolina now.  what about south carolina.  they

would be welcome with open arms.

 

But a facility like this needs skilled workers.  The data centers need very few workers, and so it is possible to put them in place like the Carolinas.  

 

They need thousands of competent workers for  this facility.  Places like Austin can provide them, but relatively few other locations can do it.  Where else?  San Fran, Boston, sure.  Chicago?  Dunno.  Memphis?  Probably not.  Boise?  No fuking way.

 

Apple and Austin are a good match.  

 

 

post #7 of 77

 

Quote:

But a facility like this needs skilled workers.  The data centers need very few workers, and so it is possible to put them in place like the Carolinas.  

 

They need thousands of competent workers for  this facility.  Places like Austin can provide them, but relatively few other locations can do it.  Where else?  San Fran, Boston, sure.  Chicago?  Dunno.  Memphis?  Probably not.  Boise?  No fuking way.

 

Apple and Austin are a good match.

 

 

Did you really just dis the entire state of South Carolina?

 

 

post #8 of 77

If I recall correctly, the Austin facility is for software development. Portland has a TON of iOS / Mac programmers (of course 98% of them are employed), but there seems to be a lot of talent in the area to build a facility around. I know that some of the iWork team is in Vancouver, WA... why not expand there? I'm sure Portland or Vancouver would be much more interested in the proposed money than Austin obviously.

 

 

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post #9 of 77

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

 

 

But a facility like this needs skilled workers.  The data centers need very few workers, and so it is possible to put them in place like the Carolinas.  

 

They need thousands of competent workers for  this facility.  Places like Austin can provide them, but relatively few other locations can do it.  Where else?  San Fran, Boston, sure.  Chicago?  Dunno.  Memphis?  Probably not.  Boise?  No fuking way.

 

Apple and Austin are a good match.  

 

 

 

There are plenty of cities that could provide the necessary number of skilled people. Phoenix. Charleston, SC. Research Triangle Park, NC. Rochester. Anywhere in southern CA. Chicago. Seattle. Portland. Dallas. And many, many more.

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post #10 of 77

a zither dither comment with a lame response.

 

why not new jersey?  there are more tecnical people available in nj than 99% of the country

and it is closer to nyc for a dose of culture and a good italian dinner (nj too) than any tx offering.

 

plus,  governor christie would give away the state if nj ever took them up on an offer.

his name would lead the ballot for the 2016 presidential race.

 

and if that didn't sweeten the pot enough,  than people running away from calif would race past tx

to get to nyc & nj where the light bulb would get turned on again.

post #11 of 77
This is precisely why we can't bring jobs back to the US.
With all the anti -business practices, and out of control spending, we will become the next Greece.
post #12 of 77

You are missing a few rather key points that is rather attractive to Austin.  Austin is the Silicon Valley of the West.  Texas Instruments, Intel, Freescale, Samsung, Micron among others call Austin home.  This means, that new components are just a short car ride from Apple's labs.  Technical support from the chip designers is just a face-to-face meeting without the need for huge amounts of notice, no hotels, time changes, airline trips.  Literally, a 30 minute drive away.

 

Now, throw in University of Texas at Austin, Austin Community College, St. Edwards, Concordia, Huston Tilotson, ITT Technical Institute, plus the colleges in the immediate area like Georgetown and Southwest Tecnical Institute - there is a plethora of talent coming out of these universities, plus established talent from the major companies in both software and hardware based companies.

 

Add to that the intrinsic benefits of Texas (no state income tax, pleasant weather, major cities of Houston, San Antonio and Dallas/Ft. Worth are only a couple hours drive away.  Hiking, biking, camping, fishing - all within the immediate area.

 

This makes Austin pretty attracive, despite some idiots in local goverment.

post #13 of 77

Many other county governments won't put up roadblocks to the creation of 3600 local jobs. Apple should bring their business elsewhere.
 

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post #14 of 77

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezduzit View Post

apple doesn't need my advice but none the less,  they should tell the

money grubbing austin tx politicians that they can shove austin.

 

that $300+ million would receive a warm welcome in more cities than can be

counted.  they are in north carolina now.  what about south carolina.  they

would be welcome with open arms.

 

Skilled workers. South Carolina doesn't have enough of them.

 

South Carolina was 50th on a recent ALEC report card on education.  Only West Virginia scored lower (#51).  

post #15 of 77

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post

 

 

 

Did you really just dis the entire state of South Carolina?

 

 

 

He was rather inartful about it but the fact is that SC wouldn't provide a sufficient workforce for those kinds of jobs.  Don't blame the messenger.   

post #16 of 77

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Granmastak View Post

This is precisely why we can't bring jobs back to the US.
With all the anti -business practices, and out of control spending, we will become the next Greece.

 

I completely agree with this. Politicians should be rewarded for bringing jobs into the US, not punishing those who want to.

 

 

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post #17 of 77

Come on over to the Twin Cities, we will welcome you with open arms, however might be higher taxes.  But we have a highly skilled work force that houses many high tech companies (3M, Honeywell, Target, General Mills, Ameriprise, United Health, Bestbuy, Xcel Energy, etc)

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post #18 of 77

Shame on Apple for needing a grant to build a facility it needs.  Corporate welfare :(

post #19 of 77

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrandersoniii View Post

Shame on Apple for needing a grant to build a facility it needs.  Corporate welfare :(

 

Apple doesn't need a grant to build a facility.

Rather, they have the ability to build the facility in a number of locations and are obviously looking for the best deal. If you were an Apple shareholder, you'd expect that.

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post #20 of 77
Most of you are ragging on the City of Austin as screwing up this deal. But it is not the City that is the problem. It is Travis County. Most likely the County wants its palms greased a little bit more.
post #21 of 77

Come a few miles south to San Antonio!!

post #22 of 77

The county government people are probably looking for some money under the table from Apple.  It never ceases to amaze me that governments complain that companies won't bring in jobs, but when there is an opportunity for more jobs, they put up a maze of roadblocks and conditions.  The only way to get past it is to grease a few pockets.  It's disgusting.  

 

I don't understand why Apple is bothering; obviously the county doesn't want them there, so why not find another location?  God knows there are plenty of towns with good workers that would welcome that many jobs with open arms. 

post #23 of 77

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrandersoniii View Post

Shame on Apple for needing a grant to build a facility it needs.  Corporate welfare :(

 

I don't blame Apple for trying to get the best terms it can in the system that we have. 

 

But at the same time, I think the system that we have sucks. Large corporations bully local governments into giving them tax breaks that smaller businesses and individuals could never get. And so guess who has to make up the difference? Small businesses and individuals. 

 

And I'll bet in this case that Apple is bluffing. I hope the local government calls the bluff. I like Apple, but I'm tired of large corporations being bad citizens. 

post #24 of 77

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hodar View Post

You are missing a few rather key points that is rather attractive to Austin.  Austin is the Silicon Valley of the West.  Texas Instruments, Intel, Freescale, Samsung, Micron among others call Austin home.  This means, that new components are just a short car ride from Apple's labs.  Technical support from the chip designers is just a face-to-face meeting without the need for huge amounts of notice, no hotels, time changes, airline trips.  Literally, a 30 minute drive away.

 

Now, throw in University of Texas at Austin, Austin Community College, St. Edwards, Concordia, Huston Tilotson, ITT Technical Institute, plus the colleges in the immediate area like Georgetown and Southwest Tecnical Institute - there is a plethora of talent coming out of these universities, plus established talent from the major companies in both software and hardware based companies.

 

Add to that the intrinsic benefits of Texas (no state income tax, pleasant weather, major cities of Houston, San Antonio and Dallas/Ft. Worth are only a couple hours drive away.  Hiking, biking, camping, fishing - all within the immediate area.

 

This makes Austin pretty attracive, despite some idiots in local goverment.

 

And, and, and, it's closer to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas!  lol.gif

post #25 of 77

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Granmastak View Post

This is precisely why we can't bring jobs back to the US.
With all the anti -business practices, and out of control spending, we will become the next Greece.

 

This post is so absurd that I can't tell if it's sincere or tongue-in-cheek. But in case it's sincere...

 

Unless you're some kind of libertarian radical, then you have to acknowledge that we need local governments to provide various services. If a large corporation like Apple can worm its way out of paying taxes by bullying the local government, then that revenue loss has to be made up by local  businesses and individuals. How is that fair or even good for the economy? It's just robbing Peter to pay Paul. 

 

While there is a case to be made for government support for industry in some cases (for example, supporting research and infrastructure that can benefit  multiple firms and wouldn't otherwise be supported by the private sector), I don't see this as being such a case. In fact, I suspect Apple is bluffing. 

post #26 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post

 

 

 

Did you really just dis the entire state of South Carolina?

 

 

 

 

Quote:

He was rather inartful about it but the fact is that SC wouldn't provide a sufficient workforce for those kinds of jobs.  Don't blame the messenger.   

 

 

Skilled workers will find the jobs.   The business environment (tax breaks) is much more important.   Open the facility in South Carolina.  Talented people will find it - even if they come from out of state.

 

 

post #27 of 77

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

 

 

I don't blame Apple for trying to get the best terms it can in the system that we have. 

 

But at the same time, I think the system that we have sucks. Large corporations bully local governments into giving them tax breaks that smaller businesses and individuals could never get. And so guess who has to make up the difference? Small businesses and individuals. 

 

And I'll bet in this case that Apple is bluffing. I hope the local government calls the bluff. I like Apple, but I'm tired of large corporations being bad citizens. 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

 

 

This post is so absurd that I can't tell if it's sincere or tongue-in-cheek. But in case it's sincere...

 

Unless you're some kind of libertarian radical, then you have to acknowledge that we need local governments to provide various services. If a large corporation like Apple can worm its way out of paying taxes by bullying the local government, then that revenue loss has to be made up by local  businesses and individuals. How is that fair or even good for the economy? It's just robbing Peter to pay Paul. 

 

While there is a case to be made for government support for industry in some cases (for example, supporting research and infrastructure that can benefit  multiple firms and wouldn't otherwise be supported by the private sector), I don't see this as being such a case. In fact, I suspect Apple is bluffing. 

 

QFT.  Austin is a good place for tech companies because of the University of Texas.  UT exists because of the Texas state government, which, it turns out, needs revenue to operate.  Apple and every other company should be happy to contribute, and if Apple's plans call for extensive building of public facilities, Apple should pay for those.

 

post #28 of 77

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by emig647 View Post

Portland has a TON of iOS / Mac programmers (of course 98% of them are employed), but there seems to be a lot of talent in the area to build a facility around. 

I just visited Portland all last week. They have a great mass transit system but that is about the only thing nice I can say about that city. Honestly, I have never seen so many obese people in my life. Nor have I seen so many disgusting street people with tattoos on their faces. There were some normal looking runners along the river frontage but downtown was pretty depressing. I went to college at O but Portland is really trashy in my opinion. Not someplace that would fit very well with the clean wholesome Apple image. Perhaps Beaverton would be better.

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post #29 of 77

All this Sturm und Drang over one inflammatory comment by some Chamber asswipe who probably doesn't know the real details of the deal.  I seriously doubt the deal is "in peril."  Also, try to remember that these tax break deals are thinly disguised bribes for corporations who don't need the money.  I don't like them at all, but until they are banned evenly and fairly nationwide they are a fact of life.  Some idiot said these delays were "anti-business practices."  That is just as inflammatory as saying the deal is in peril and it has no basis in fact.

post #30 of 77

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by emig647 View Post

If I recall correctly, the Austin facility is for software development. Portland has a TON of iOS / Mac programmers (of course 98% of them are employed), but there seems to be a lot of talent in the area to build a facility around. I know that some of the iWork team is in Vancouver, WA... why not expand there? I'm sure Portland or Vancouver would be much more interested in the proposed money than Austin obviously.

 

Nope, it´s an Ops Center. There will be no App development there, though I can imagine some people doing server-side scripting, query writing, and that sort of thing. It may be home to people running the data centers being built elsewhere. So I would expect them to look for system administrators, DBAs, first and second level support teams, IT managers, etc. And I think they need to expand call center staff as well. iOS or Mac developers? Probably not many, if at all.

 

Software and hardware product development is in California and I don't see it going anywhere else. It's where the heart and soul of the company is.

post #31 of 77

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

 

 

This post is so absurd that I can't tell if it's sincere or tongue-in-cheek. But in case it's sincere...

 

Unless you're some kind of libertarian radical, then you have to acknowledge that we need local governments to provide various services. If a large corporation like Apple can worm its way out of paying taxes by bullying the local government, then that revenue loss has to be made up by local  businesses and individuals. How is that fair or even good for the economy? It's just robbing Peter to pay Paul. 

 

While there is a case to be made for government support for industry in some cases (for example, supporting research and infrastructure that can benefit  multiple firms and wouldn't otherwise be supported by the private sector), I don't see this as being such a case. In fact, I suspect Apple is bluffing. 

I generally agree. Either it makes biz sense in Austin or not.

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post #32 of 77

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Shouldn't that read "Chamber of Commerce frustrated as County screws with plans, pretending they have a clue how Apple feels"

 

 


There's another side to the story. The County is not "screwing" with Apple or the city so much as not bending existing rules & laws for Apple. That is, they are following established legalities instead of kissing Apple's butt.

Seriously, that is my reading of the situation. And I don't see why that has been spun 180 to make it seem like the County is at fault here, when it's really the largest company on the planet with money oozing out of its shares asking for a measly $3-$4 million in concessions from a local government. Apple doesn't need that money; it really doesn't. It made $50 billion on Wednesday alone. This is chump change for Apple. Why on earth can they not just play by the rules and build their darn building(s)? Why must they squeeze every last dollar out of everyone?

That's $4 million the county could use to improve roads or policing of the area but that Apple wants to use to line its coffers even further. It's corporate greed, pure & simple and I do not have a problem with the County standing up and saying "enough'.

post #33 of 77

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

And I'll bet in this case that Apple is bluffing. I hope the local government calls the bluff. I like Apple, but I'm tired of large corporations being bad citizens. 

Huh?! "Bluffing"? About what?

 

Apple has said nothing.

 

Stop projecting yourself and your b/s views on to Apple.

 

post #34 of 77

Building Two? I'm sure the next one will be called simply "The new Building"

post #35 of 77

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Granmastak View Post

This is precisely why we can't bring jobs back to the US.
With all the anti -business practices, and out of control spending, we will become the next Greece.

 


You pro-business types need to make up your minds. Either corporations are people or they aren't. If they're people as you keep claiming, then they need to pay taxes like everyone else. They use services such as police and roads and they need to pay for them. What's happening in this story is Apple is strongarming the city and county to try to get out of those taxes. The city buckled but the county is standing its ground. Good for it. If I cannot get out of paying my taxes, why is the corporate "person" Apple allowed to?? Where is the "personal" responsibility that pro-business types are always saying they are mad about our country losing?

post #36 of 77

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ktappe View Post

That's $4 million the county could use to improve roads or policing of the area

 

Why should Apple or its shareholders care about improving roads or policing?

 

post #37 of 77

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ktappe View Post

 

 


There's another side to the story. The County is not "screwing" with Apple or the city so much as not bending existing rules & laws for Apple. That is, they are following established legalities instead of kissing Apple's butt.

Seriously, that is my reading of the situation. And I don't see why that has been spun 180 to make it seem like the County is at fault here, when it's really the largest company on the planet with money oozing out of its shares asking for a measly $3-$4 million in concessions from a local government. Apple doesn't need that money; it really doesn't. It made $50 billion on Wednesday alone. This is chump change for Apple. Why on earth can they not just play by the rules and build their darn building(s)? Why must they squeeze every last dollar out of everyone?

That's $4 million the county could use to improve roads or policing of the area but that Apple wants to use to line its coffers even further. It's corporate greed, pure & simple and I do not have a problem with the County standing up and saying "enough'.

 

I was very much against the Samsung plant being built in Austin years ago.  Why?  Because they extorted even more money than Apple wants from city and county governments.  And I think they did it again years later, threatening to move the plant elsewhere if they didn't get more tax breaks.  This kind of tax inequity is just stupid and it needs to stop.  Tax laws should be fair and applied evenly to all applicable parties with zero favoritism or exceptions.  What would be wrong with that?

post #38 of 77

The facts of the matter are simple, munis need jobs and tax money to operate. They setup the system of competitive bidding to offer discounts, tax breaks and incentives to lure companies to come to their territory and bring some dollars with. Companies like Apple simply let them bid against each other and chose the best deal they can get - kind of like shopping and telling a retailer - "hey, this store was selling it at this price. Rather than go back there and buy it there, how about you offer it to me at the same price?"

 

Apple doesn't have to build there, bring jobs there or anything. They will go where it's in their best fiscal interest to do it. The reason why Apple has the money it does is because they are PRUDENT about what they do with it. Spending money indiscrinimately is a slippery slope for anyone, but especially companies. As long as the munis are willing to try and outbid each other for corporate building, it is not the corporations' responsibility to monitor what the elected officials do and and police that. It's the voters who have to do that.

 

So saying that Apple should just pony up the funds, is looking at it the wrong way - it's the munis that are creating the problem. You want to stop the practice you elect the people who will do that. And watch as jobs and commerce go to the other locations.

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post #39 of 77

Wrong. Being pro-business doesn't mean supporting inequity. But it also doesn't mean that they have to build in places that are more expensive either.

 

COMMERCE 101

Where are the jobs going to come from if you don't attract businesses to support your municipal infrastructure?

 

How are you going to attract businesses away from other municipalities that are willing to offer tax incentives and other breaks in order to attract businesses to bring jobs and more commerce to the area?

 

The businesses consume utilities, they pay for power, water and other services, they pay property taxes, they pay local taxes, they bring more revenue into the locale by hiring and paying employees, which in turn puts more money into the local economy, or by bringing more employees into the area - which provides more homeowners paying property taxes, buying local goods and services, paying taxes, paying utiilties for the area. Keeping emplyments high and unemployment low is good for the local economy and a key target of most politicians. With what commodity do you suggest the politicians entice businesses to come and locate in their municipality? Good will? Pleasant climate? Friendly residents?

 

How will you prevent another municipality from looking at this situation and offering better financial incentives to have Apple build their operations there instead?

 

Take your time, think out your answers. You must use reality, not wishful thinking to respond.

 

 

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post #40 of 77

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post

 

Skilled workers will find the jobs.   The business environment (tax breaks) is much more important.   Open the facility in South Carolina.  Talented people will find it - even if they come from out of state.

 

 

 

Skill workers will find jobs, but if those jobs are not in areas they like, they will find other jobs. :-)

 

It is much easier for companies to hire people where the people already live, like existing tech centers such as Austin, the Bay Area, etc...

 

Remember, the high quality software engineers and programmers have very low unemployment these days (about 4% or so for software engineers, probably less for the really good ones). Getting them to pick up and move is much more difficult than, say, manufacturing jobs where unemployment rates are higher.

 

(no offense to SC - there may be good technology pockets in the state, I'm just not as familiar with them.)

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