Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) announced last June that Amazon was planning to “invest more than $300 million” and “create more than 3,000 full time jobs with benefits” in Florida by the end of 2016. At the time, just where those jobs would be created was not revealed. Now the secret is out: Hillsborough County.
Amazon has yet to confirm the news buzzing around Hillsborough County, home to Tampa. But Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham said that Amazon has signed a long-term lease for the property in the southern portion of the county. Construction will begin immediately, according to Higginbotham. (Tampa Bay Business Journal).
Hillsborough v Polk Counties
Competition for an Amazon facility has been fierce in Florida. Hillsborough commissioners voted in July “to waive half of the county portion of Amazon’s property tax bill for the first seven years after it builds the center.” That translates to roughly $6.4 million in savings for Amazon. In Polk County, commissioners “approved a tax abatement plan in July that would cut $4.5 million from Amazon’s tax bills over the next 10 years if it opened a distribution center in the county.” (Tampa Bay Times).
A mega-storm of growth
The economy of South Hillsborough County has been hard hit by the recession, and employment opportunities in the area are limited. In announcing the deal with Amazon, Commissioner Sandy Murman fairly crowed:
“This is bigger than landing the Super Bowl, a National Convention or the Olympics, … because this is bringing more than 1,000 permanent jobs to South Hillsborough County, with nearly that many seasonal jobs every year, along with the construction jobs. It’s a mega-storm of growth that’s hitting our county with feeder bands that will create economic growth all over this area.”
Of the 1000 people who will be employed at the new center, some 375 will have “average wages of at least 115% of the State’s average wage…” No wonder people are happy.
When he announced in June that Amazon was planning to building in Florida, Governor Scott said that “Amazon will begin collecting Florida sales tax at such time as it is required under current Florida law.” Presumably that is still true, although exactly when that will be has not yet been revealed.
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