National Instruments Corp. will receive about $1.7 million over the next 10 years from the city after Austin City Council members unanimously approved an economic development agreement with the company at their March 7 council meeting.
Mayor Lee Leffingwell said the agreement is good for the city and will make money for the city in the long run.
"On every agreement that we've done, on every analysis that we've done since I've been on the council, the city makes money on them," Leffingwell said of economic development agreements. "At the end of the day, there's a profit. We're not spending money on these [agreements], we're making money on these."
National Instruments plans to build a 300,000-square-foot research and development facility at 11500 N. MoPac, and is expected to create at least 1,000 jobs. According to the city's fiscal impact software, Austin will garner about $7.6 million in net benefits from the agreement over the 10-year term.
Austin resident David King said he opposed the agreement because he felt it amounted to corporate subsidies and corporate welfare.
"If the goal of corporate tax subsidies is to bring in new taxpayers and help minimize tax increases, when will current taxpayers see any tax benefit?" King asked. "What we see is higher density, more congestion, more concrete, higher taxes and commercialization of parks and neighborhoods."
The agreement with National Instruments also includes paying all construction workers and full-time employees at least $11 per hour.
Rodney Gonzalez, deputy director of the city's Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Department, said NI expects to hire about 35 percent of new employees locally.
Dave Porter, senior vice president of economic development with the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, said he is excited to see a local company taking advantage of incentives offered by the city.
"It's quite an honor that a local, homegrown success story like National Instruments is considering growing, expanding here and adding 1,000 new jobs," Porter said. "Having a policy in place that's flexible to allow local companies to take advantage of incentives is really a sign of a good policy."
Texas is also contributing to the project—about $4.4 million—through the Texas Enterprise Fund, which enables the state to assist business growth and job creation in Texas.
Travis County Commissioners Court is also expected to consider an economic incentive agreement with NI at its March 12 meeting.