Critics think Apple’s $208M in tax incentives has sour taste

State and local leaders held a flurry of meetings Thursday morning to approve $208 million in tax incentives for tech giant Apple to build two Des Moines-area data storage centers, calling the deal the biggest economic development win in the history of the state.

The exact location has not yet been disclosed, but it will be within the city limits of Waukee, a booming suburb neighboring Des Moines.

The Iowa Board of Economic Development unanimously approved $19.6 million in tax incentives from the state to build the $1.375 million project, which will employ about 50 people, and the city of Waukee plans to provide a property tax abatement of 71 percent over 20 years with an estimated value of $188,239,943.

The total value in state and local benefits for the project adds up to $207,889,943.00, which means that $4,157,798.86 in state and local funds will be used for each of those 50 jobs. The employees must be paid at least $29.12 per hour as part of the incentive agreement with the state of Iowa.

Apple has also agreed to purchase 2,000 acres of land for its Iowa data center division, which is enough to allow for future development, said Debi Durham, the state’s economic development director. The land will house two state-of-the-art, 100 percent renewable energy data center facilities, along with other various logistics and operational buildings.

Apple plans to complete construction on the first building in April 2020 and the second building by April 2021. The company expects roughly 1,700 temporary construction jobs to be created with the project.

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