City OKs $1.7 million in incentives for National Instruments [Austin American-Statesman]
(Austin American-Statesman (TX) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 08--National Instruments Corp. won approval Thursday for $1.7 million in city of Austin incentives to support the company's proposed expansion of 1,000 Austin jobs over the next 10 years.
The pioneering Austin tech company is expected to hire more tech workers, including hardware engineers and software developers, to support its plans to continue its development of test and development of hardware and software systems to assist the world's scientists and engineers.
The City Council voted 7-0 to approve the incentives deal Thursday evening.
The city's incentives will be equal to 50 percent of the actual new real and personal property taxes generated by the project between 2013 and 2022.
Company spokeswoman Stacy Schmitt thanked the council for its vote, but deferred further comment until the Travis County commissioners vote on their proposed incentives for the project. They are expected to do so next week.
The Texas Governor's Office already has said it has agreed to back National Instruments' expansion with $4.4 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund. Travis County also is considering offering $1.3 million in incentives for the project.
The site selection is competitive with Penang, Malaysia, where the company already has operations, according to documents filed with the city of Austin.
The company is proposing to invest $80 million to build and equip a new 300,00-square-foot office building next to its existing campus at 11500 N. MoPac Blvd. (Loop 1) for the expansion project. The average annual wage for the new jobs it creates is estimated to be $72,223.
The company, which was started in 1976, already employs more than 2,400 workers in Austin and more than 6,800 worldwide. It had sales of more than $1.1 billion last year.
Its proposed expansion would place National Instruments among the handful of largest technology employers in the area, trailing only Dell Inc., Apple Inc., IBM Corp. and Freescale Semiconductor.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry stated that the expansion project could "bolster Austin's status as a hub for research, development and innovation."
The company says it sells its systems to more than 35,000 companies every year for use in academic research, alternative energy projects, aerospace and defense, automobile development, consumer electronics, life sciences, semiconductor development and wireless systems.
Economic development experts have praised the deal because it shows that local companies can qualify for the same sorts of expansion incentives that outside companies, such as Apple, Visa Inc. and Facebook Inc. have received.
Visa won approval late last year to receive state and city incentives for its new software development center at 12301 Research Blvd. Visa, which proposed to create 794 new jobs by 2017, got approval for $7.9 million in state incentives and $1.6 million from the city of Austin.
The deal was praised by representatives of Austin Interfaith because the company agreed to a floor wage of $11 an hour for all jobs, including construction jobs tied to the project. The company also agreed to work with contractors to ensure that construction workers on the project will be covered by worker's compensation insurance.
The city estimates that its net benefit from the project will total $7.1 million over 10 years.
Mayor Lee Leffingwell said that this project, like others receiving incentives from the city, generates more benefits than costs to the city. "We are not spending money,"he said. "We are making money on this project and all these projects" that receive incentives.
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