Goldwater Institute: Public Has a Right to Know About Incentives Deal With Apple

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Yutaka Tsutano via Flickr


The Goldwater Institute is pressing agencies for details of the "incentives" deal used to lure Apple to open a manufacturing facility in Mesa.

In a press release, the Goldwater Institute says media reports indicate people from the "Arizona Commerce Authority, the City of Mesa, and Maricopa County have signed confidentiality agreements to hide the content of their meetings with Apple Corporation as they worked to attract the tech giant to open operations in the area."

See also:
-Apple to Open Manufacturing Facility in Mesa
-What Apple Might Be Making in Its New Mesa Facility (Video)

The conservative think-tank notes that "attempts by public officials to hide information about how taxpayer dollars are being spent raises serious legal questions, especially in light of Arizona's broad public records laws requiring open and transparent government."

A spokeswoman from the governor's office told New Times earlier this week that a deal hasn't been finalized, and the details won't be available until after the contract is signed.

The Goldwater Institute claims that's not good enough:
While the law allows for secret negotiations, it is clear the public has a legal right to know the details of any agreements before the deals are approved. In the case of the Apple deal, public officials are taking secrecy to new levels, not just being evasive about the terms and incentives of the deal, but also the terms of the confidentiality agreements they've signed in their public capacities.

The Goldwater Institute has filed public records requests of its own to gain information from the Arizona Commerce Authority, the City of Mesa, and Maricopa County, about the details surrounding the Apple deal. While none of the public bodies have yet responded to the requests, the Goldwater Institute intends to pursue the records requests to the fullest extent--including through the courts, if necessary.
This package for Apple could potentially be worth millions of dollars. Consider this: Last year, Arizona reportedly was in the running for a facility that advertised 3,600 Apple jobs. Austin snagged Apple with a $21 million tax-incentive package assembled by the state.

The think-tank's press release also cites an unnamed state lawmaker who "bemoaned that transparency and open meeting laws had severely undermined her district's ability to seal 'economic development' deals, because businesses being courted did not want to have to disclose information about their dealings in exchange for taxpayer-funded incentives."

"The law is clear - government cannot hide the decisions it is making on behalf of the public," Goldwater Institute staff attorney Jon Riches says in a statement.

Governor Jan Brewer announced the news of the plant earlier this week, saying the facility will produce 700 jobs in its first year.

Apple is giving a company called GT Advanced Technologies a $578 million prepayment to make "sapphire material" for Apple at the plant. "Sapphire material" already is used to make iPhones, although technology writers have suggested that the product is going to be incorporated more in future versions of the phone.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.



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26 comments
Rita Mary
Rita Mary

for which they were not taxed since it was all done overseas

Rita Mary
Rita Mary

Frankly, I'd be more worried on what they are going to be building there and if it is safe for the people working and living there. Are the materials toxic and will they be dumping cancer causing materials, etc. Tax incentives are typical corporate maneuvers to gain as much as they can from wherever they can... this is done to appease the US people for using dirt cheap labor in Asia to make the company trillions.

Bill Cherry Jr.
Bill Cherry Jr.

why those selfish bastards! How dare they pour money into our economy! why I oughta... (shakes fist at them)

Adam Harding
Adam Harding

Apple decides to open a facility in Mesa to bring jobs to the valley and we've decided to bitch about it?

Arturo Yescas
Arturo Yescas

Whoooooo cares!!! I mean it's not like they're asking for human sacrifices...are they?

phxjustice
phxjustice

Though I lament the use of tax dollars to "entice" a company to move its production, I notice that the Goldwater Institute is once again picking and choosing when it gets its ire up.  I get this feeling that someone associated with the Goldwater Institute got shut out of the deal and is pissed that they aren't getting those tax payer dollars.

Jennifer Burcham
Jennifer Burcham

Any jobs in this state are welcome, and attracting business is even better. Maybe other big names will follow suit.

Tara Almond
Tara Almond

It's like socialism... except for corporations and not people!

Ethan Singer
Ethan Singer

700 jobs, 1300 construction jobs for only duration of build. its good press for apple, so so in terms of job creation for the valley. i don't see why apple gets soooo much press about this, and truthfully what is the guarantee that it just wont be some chicago cubs training grounds in like 20yrs when apple decides to move to another city. do we believe that the highest positions will be hired out from the valley job market, or transferred her? think about it, i don't know answer. spend more than 5 seconds making knee jerk reaction, and just consider the concept

Tyburn Gallows
Tyburn Gallows

Where's my tax break? I once bought a crappy Apple product and it sucked. Reparations now!

shadeaux14
shadeaux14 topcommenter

Let's see.......A deal made by a corporation and Arizona Republicans.................

and kept secret,


WHAT COULD GO WRONG?????

John Phoenix
John Phoenix

Rethuglicans. I like that. Consider it stolen, Genaro!

Gina DiMarco
Gina DiMarco

Let's ask the hundreds of people that will now have employment. I bet they'd say jobs. And so do I.

Genaro Alcantara
Genaro Alcantara

We can act like Rethuglicans do, Lie to them to get the jobs in an later we can make changes to the constitu.... contract jejejejejejje

Gregg Myers
Gregg Myers

~ complete transparency or terminal boycott :)

Chris.Holman
Chris.Holman

@Rita Mary No, they will not.  Corporations in this industry operating within the US follow all EPA and OSHA standards.  I have only witnessed one company in the past 15 years in the manufacturing technology industry that did not adhere to OSHA standards and when I complained to OSHA, they immediately fixed their mistakes as they were a start-up company.  GT is not a new company.  I am not saying that companies have never committed wrongdoing, what I'm saying is that this industry is extremely competitive and only the one's doing it right can survive producing inside the US in 2013.   I applaud your skepticism, that is an important value to hold onto.

66rock
66rock topcommenter

@Arturo Yescas  I do for one.  As a taxpayer in Mesa, Maricopa County and Az, you bet I care what I'm paying for those 700 jobs which isn't all that many actually in the big picture depending on what it costs us and have yet to know for sure if that even includes those temporary construction type jobs.  We are paying for it and expect all the numbers.  Thank you Goldwater Inst on this one.

66rock
66rock topcommenter

@phxjustice   Doesn't it really matter.  No secret deals, have had enough of those here.

Chris.Holman
Chris.Holman

@Ethan Singer I work in the tech industry.  This is a great opportunity for people in our industry out of work.  I have worked with many people at other companies that cannot get hired where I am now because they do not have the education, only many wonderful years of experience.  I hope GT will hire some of these folks who need a steady paycheck in a field they are qualified to work.  Great job to the state of Arizona and the politicians involved- their party means nothing to me but creating jobs does!

66rock
66rock topcommenter

@Tyburn Gallows   Never heard of a crappy Apple product, certainly not my MAC and hubby's whatever you call it, the music player thingy and his notepad thingy.  All I know is we've had them for years now with no repair bills.  Far from "crappy"!  What did you buy so we can stay away from it, what?


ReggieVV
ReggieVV

@shadeaux14   I never agree with the Goldwater/Koch Brothers clique, but on this one I do.  I have nothing against Apple, and think their jobs here are great.  But the taxpayers should know what the Ninth Floor  occupant gave away to get them.  I don't see Goldwater suing APS for spending YOUR  money trying to can solar energy in this State.  Their behavior so outrageous to have even the bought and paid for Republican hacks on the ACC crying for cover.

66rock
66rock topcommenter

@Gina DiMarco   and Mike Madden,  is there some reason we can't have both?  The jobs and knowledge of deal?  No secrets with our tax money.  

66rock
66rock topcommenter

@Chris.Holman   Isn't this just part of the glass production end of it for their products?

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