© 2023 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Micron requesting largest tax break in Onondaga County history


The Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency is considering the largest pilot, or payment in lieu of taxes deal, in county history, as part of the Micron deal.

Part of the reason Micron chose the White Pine Commerce Park in the town of Clay for a $100 billion chip fab project, was the state, federal and local tax breaks. It’s now officially asking for those local sales and property tax breaks, in the form of a 49-year pilot agreement from the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency.

In an interview with WRVO about the request, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said a 49-year pilot is typical in the high-tech industry.

"Wolfspeed down the street has a 49-year pilot," McMahon said. "Global Foundries, I believe, had a 49-year pilot as well. In reality, when you go for the unicorn project, you need to be competitive at the local level, competitive at the state level and competitive at the federal level with other countries."

McMahon said Micron will be submitting an application soon for subsidies from the federal CHIPS Act.

The other aspect of this move is that it names the IDA the lead agency in the Micron project. McMahon said that will allow necessary environmental reviews of the site to begin in advance of a planned 2024 groundbreaking. It also comes with a $25 million check to the IDA to cover costs related to the project.

McMahon said this pilot deal was pre-negotiated and he notes there are no taxes currently being paid on most of the 1,400-acre White Pine site, so no revenue is being lost there. He expects central New York to reap benefits from this deal for years to come.

“With the jobs," said McMahon, "and then with the high salaries and then with all the growth, all the supply chain companies coming here, with the housing that's going to be developed with all the other commercial that's going to be developed those all that's going to be paying lots of property taxes. The income that's being generated in the community, there's going to be lots of sales tax based off of that. Overall this is going to be a huge net positive for the community."

Micron expects the memory chip plant will create up to 9,000 jobs over the next 20 years.

"The reality is, is without this pilot, Micron doesn't come," McMahon said. "That's just a fact. You can't invest a $100 billion and get assessed at that level and expect to be competitive with Texas, North Carolina, Arizona for Wisconsin and Michigan. Needless to say, all those states were offering some real estate tax incentives.”

The application will be submitted to the IDA on Thursday, and will be considered and voted on at a later date.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.