$6 million in tax incentives approved to lure Amazon to Hillsborough County
8:49 PM, Jun 19, 2013
1:39 AM, Jun 20, 2013
RUSKIN, Fla. -
"This is a grand slam for Hillsborough County. You're talking about quality jobs coming to our community," said Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe.
Hillsborough County is one step closer to snagging Amazon.
"It's like having a perfect anchor come in and establish a store in your shopping center. Now everyone else wants to co-locate to have that same address," explained Commissioner Victor Crist.
The land near I-75 and State Road 674 in Ruskin is largely undeveloped.
If Amazon builds a one-million-square-foot distribution warehouse, it could hum with the sound of jobs.
"There are hard working taxpayers in South County who want their tax dollars spent to create jobs so that they can work," said Commissioner Sandra Murman.
Amazon's warehouse would create 1,000 new jobs, some of them minimum wage. Around 375 jobs would pay higher wages, close to a $50,000 paycheck.
But the internet retail giant is also scouting multiple Florida locations, according to the county, including spots in Jacksonville, Winter Haven and Ocala.
"I think our chances are good. You know obviously it's not a done deal until Amazon says it's a done deal," said Sharpe.
Hillsborough County Commissioners signed off on a $225,000 incentive. The money is the county's share of a state incentive program which requires Hillsborough County to carry 20 percent of the package.
"It's not a coincidence that Texas had led the nation in job creation, and that the film industry has exploded in Louisiana. It's called incentives," said Commissioner Ken Hagan.
County officials say Amazon wants to move quickly, and it may be just 30 days before the company makes a decision.
Commissioners are also discussing a tax break incentive that could give Amazon a 50 percent break for seven years, more than $900,000 a year.
"If you were to ask them, I'm sure they would say their preference is to be ready for holiday season 2014. That's building a million square foot building in a really quick time frame," said Ron Barton, Director Hillsborough County Economic Development.