LOCKHART, Texas — On Tuesday, Micron Technology announced a new investment worth up to $100 billion in Central New York. The company had forced a bargaining battle between Clay, New York, and Lockhart, Texas.
"It was billions in tax savings, both ad valorem and sales tax. It was billions in our rates for electric and water, so all of those combined made the billions of dollars," Caldwell County Judge Hoppy Haden said. "The art of dealmaking is knowing when to, you know, say, 'That's my best offer. It's my best and final.'"
Haden led the team offering the multibillion-dollar incentive package for the Lockhart area. While the outcome of Micron expanding just outside Syracuse wasn't what he wanted, Haden believes there is a silver lining.
"I feel like thanks to [Micron], Caldwell County is now very much on the map as a as a hot spot for economic development," Haden added.
"I'll admit, you have to kind of swallow hard when you start looking at the tax incentive numbers and time lengths you're having to deal with," Lockhart Mayor Lew White said. "We counteract that with the value of the spinoff businesses that may come that more than likely won't receive those type of tax benefits, with the businesses and the residential growth that will come along as well."
White added he's disappointed with Micron's decision too, as the initial $20 billion investment over 20 years would have helped the city make major improvements, even with the proposed tax incentives.
"Micron would have been particularly beneficial for our school district," White said. "You know, it could have been a major difference-builder. The burden that we all place on our taxpayers, but especially as a school district, it's hard to try to pass these bond issues there. School, city as well, to ask people to pay more taxes, the school district particularly is hurting right now for improvements."
"We are disappointed in Micron's decision today not to come to our area," Michael Wright, one of the at-large members of the Lockhart ISD board of trustees, said. "It would have meant a lot to our school district and our community if they had chosen Lockhart for their new site."
Lockhart ISD responded with the following statement regarding the news:
"While Lockhart ISD was disappointed to hear the news, the school district feels confident in the opportunities that lie ahead for our community, which continues to grow and draw interest because of the advantages that Lockhart, Caldwell County, and the school district offer.
“In the upcoming legislative session, the Texas Legislature must work to pass legislation renewing Texas Tax Code Chapter 313, which expires this year. For Texas to be competitive, it must be able to offer this incentive to fuel business interest in Texas and boost economic development,” said Superintendent Mark Estrada."
Federal lawmakers from Texas had been hoping Micron would choose the Austin area as well, but they are glad the company did not expand overseas.
"As the author of the CHIPS for America bill, this is exactly what I hoped would happen – American companies investing in America, creating American jobs and keeping our critical supply chains out of China," Congressman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said. "I want to thank Micron for their expansion, and I look forward to many more announcements like this from other American companies as a result of this bipartisan law."
For months, McCaul touted Micron as one of the major U.S. semiconductor manufacturers looking to invest in Central Texas. Even so, Haden called Caldwell County a destination for big business investment.
"If you don't agree and you want to go to Syracuse, so be it," Haden said. "We have others who disagree with you and they're looking pretty hard at that site."
Haden said as soon as next week, he plans to start working on other multibillion-dollar deals with those companies waiting to invest on the same property Micron desired.
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