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Companies want more

For a time, it looked like local officials might be in the politically unpalatable position of having to say yes or no to a company – International Paper – that was going to asking for a 30-year tax freeze.

The company will be sticking with the usual max of 15, per plans IP released Friday in advance of a city-county Economic Development Growth Engine board meeting this week. In exchange for a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes benefit, IP would keep 2,274 jobs here, create 101 new jobs, keep its headquarters in Memphis and build a new 235,000-square-foot, 10-story building along with a new 470-car garage and two pedestrian bridges.

Companies like IP, though, look to keep asking for more and more in the “High-stakes game” – the title of the cover story in this weekend’s Memphis News on this topic – of economic development. This, from the Wall Street Journal:

“The world’s biggest sneaker maker is expanding its operations in the U.S. and has threatened to move if Oregon cannot guarantee its corporate tax structure will remain the same.

Gov. John Kitzhaber is asking lawmakers to grant him the authority to ensure that the state’s method of determining corporate taxes won’t change for companies, like Nike, that fit very specific criteria: Will invest $150 million in the state over five years and create 500 jobs.”

Under the proposed Oregon law, Nike could get that promise for as much as 40 years.

Dansette

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