Travis County receives economic incentives application from Samsung for $17B plant expansion project

Photo of a Samsung property
Samsung has officially requested tax incentives from Travis County for a possible $17B investment. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)

Samsung has officially requested tax incentives from Travis County for a possible $17B investment. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)

Travis County commissioners have received an application for a performance agreement from Samsung Austin Semiconductor, LLC, which seeks tax incentives to bring a $17 billion chip-making plant to Travis County. They will discuss the application at a July 20 meeting of the commissioners court, but are not expected to take action at the meeting.

The county voted in January to accept an application for the project under the name Project Silicon Silver, but Samsung did not officially receive the application—along with its $150,000 application fee—until now.

“Travis County can confirm Samsung Austin Semiconductor has submitted an Economic Development Performance Agreement application for Project Silicon Silver. The Travis County Commissioners Court looks forward to evaluating the application and working to ensure any potential agreement with the company benefits the Travis County community in a fair and equitable manner," said Yoojin Cho, Travis County public information specialist, in a statement.

In order to accept Samsung's application, county commissioners in December lifted a moratorium on its Chapter 28 economic development incentives policy. The policy had been on pause since July 2019, ostensibly so Travis County could adjust the policy to be more inclusive of smaller businesses in addition to the large corporations who have traditionally received Chapter 28 tax credits. Ahead of the January vote, commissioners implemented a set of temporary adjustments to its policy based on the city of Austin's correlating policy, called Chapter 380, in regards to the Silicon Silver project.

The adjustments include a requirement that all jobs created by the Silicon Silver project pay a wage of at least $15 per hour in Travis County, both to company employees and contract workers. Additionally, at least 25% of the project’s hires must be from Travis County or the surrounding counties of Bastrop, Hays, Caldwell, Williamson and Burnet.

According to documents attached to the county's July 20 meeting, Travis County will consider Samsung's application in partnership with city of Austin's Chapter 380 process.

Meanwhile, however, Samsung is apparently considering its options, both locally and outside of Texas. Texas Comptroller records show that Samsung Austin Semiconductor has submitted an incentives agreement application with Taylor ISD seeking tax reimbursements on an equivalently sized project under the name "Project Colin." According to the documents, the company is also considering locations in Arizona, New York and South Korea.

According to documents reviewed by Community Impact Newspaper in January, Samsung had already rejected an offer from the city of Austin that included almost $650 million in incentives over five years. The company countered by requesting a 100% tax abatement over 25 years.

Specifics of the application Samsung filed with Travis County are not yet available; however, per the county's Chapter 28 rules, commissioners must post two public hearings to discuss the application, and a draft performance agreement must be publicly posted at least seven calendar days ahead of time.
By Olivia Aldridge

Reporter, Central Austin

Olivia joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in March 2019. She covers public health, business, development and Travis County government. A graduate of Presbyterian College in South Carolina, Olivia worked as a reporter and producer for South Carolina Public Radio before moving to Texas. Her work has appeared on NPR and in the New York Times.


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