Valdosta Daily Times

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April 28, 2012

Baxter could get over $200 million in incentives

ATLANTA — A medical and biotechnology firm could get more than $210 million in incentives for building a new facility about 40 miles east of Atlanta.

Baxter International Inc. could receive the incentives from state and local governments for the bio-pharmaceutical manufacturing facility, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://bit.ly/IFgIwJ).

Gov. Nathan Deal announced last week that Georgia landed the high-tech factory.

Initially, the state Department of Economic Development estimated the state would give the company $80 million in incentives.

Alison Tyrer, the department’s spokeswoman, says she based the original estimate on incentives that were specially crafted for Baxter and job tax credits.

Tyrer didn’t include breaks and incentives every company can take advantage of, such as Baxter’s estimated $1.3 million in energy sales tax exemptions, or items such as $14 million training facility the state will build on Baxter’s site near Covington, which the state will own and potentially use for other training.

The biggest chunk not included in the estimate was the $107 million-plus from local tax breaks and exemptions.

County officials in the area around the plant site were unaware of the full cost.

“That takes my breath away,” said Morgan County Commission Chair Ellen Warren on adding up the state’s cost.

Documents obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution indicate the state dollar figures could grow depending on how many jobs Baxter creates.

Baxter, a Deerfield, Ill.-based company whose plant near Covington is expected to employ 1,500 people when it is operational in 2018, is one of the state’s biggest recruitment efforts. However, it’s not the biggest. South Korean automaker Kia got incentives worth more than $400 million to put a plant in West Point.

Tyrer said average salaries for the type of jobs Baxter will offer at the plant, which will make medical supplies and therapies from plasma, are $55,000 to $60,000 a year. The plant will cost at least $830 million to build, and that could rise to more than $1 billion.

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