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Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Jobs in the Apple Cart

by David Bloom

In March 2012, the city of Austin and Apple signed a Chapter 380 Economic Development Agreement that is bringing high-paying jobs to the Texas capital region. The package is a prime example of the far-reaching benefits such incentive packages can bring to a community.

The California-based corporation agreed to open an Americas Operation Center in northwest Austin and make a more than $300 million capital investment in its new campus. In return, Apple received $8.6 million tax breaks from the city of Austin and another $5 million from Travis County. In 2015 alone, Apple invested more than $29 million in new machinery and equipment for their Americas Operation Center.

The Apple Campus, when completed, will include more than 1 million square feet of office space and span nearly 40 acres, a fitting footprint in Austin, where the University of Texas campus was famously set aside on a similarly-sized plot of land in the hope of spawning future research and innovation.

The agreement also requires Apple to create more than 3,600 new full-time jobs in Austin by 2022 and retain 3,100 existing jobs as well. In the first year of the agreement, the average annual wage of these new jobs was set to be $54,000, not including health insurance and retirement benefits. By the final year of the agreement, the average annual wage will exceed $73,000.

More than four and a half years into this agreement, Apple is well on its way toward reaching the jobs and investment goals it spells out. Between March 2012 and the end of 2015, the company created 2,089 new full-time jobs. An additional 904 contract jobs were created and retained during that same period.

If all job targets are hit, Apple will become the second-largest technology employer in Central Texas, behind only home-grown Dell.

In addition to hitting the agreement’s investment and jobs goals, Apple is meeting or exceeding other delineated obligations, including targets for diversity in recruitment and local business participation.

David Colligan, manager of Austin’s global business expansion division, says the city is pleased with the Apple pact and their portfolio of performance-based agreements.

“Our last review of projects incentivized since 2010 through the department’s use of Chapter 380 performance-based agreements reveals an estimated 239 percent return on investment for the City of Austin … we have a strong focus for addressing industry expansion that will provide equitable opportunities for current and future Austinites.”

In offering incentives, success begets success, and Austin is hopeful that investment, jobs and hiring goals met will lead to future Chapter 380 agreements that also will boost the region’s economy.

Adds Colligan, “Our history of forming successful relationships with companies like Apple should help to secure these type of outcomes in the years and generations to come.”

Learn more about Austin’s Chapter 380 agreements and see how they’re performing. FN

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