Tax watchdog group watches as Apple, Mesa near deal - KCTV5

Tax watchdog group watches as Apple, Mesa near deal

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MESA, AZ (CBS5) -

Some watchdog groups are weighing the pros and cons of tech giant Apple moving to Mesa. They are keeping an eye on what kind of tax deals the corporation will get.

Washington, DC-based Good Jobs First said they believe taxpayers lose when big companies move in. But the city of Mesa said they've done their research and that it will only help the people of Arizona.

"It looks to us like the rich are getting richer, that is big, high-profile companies like Apple that have the greatest ability to play states against each other," said Greg LeRoy, the executive director of Good Jobs First.

According to their website, Arizona has a history of cutting deals with companies wanting to set up shop in the Valley of the Sun.

For example, Intel saw nearly $7 million in sales tax exemptions and $25 million in corporate tax credits. And Walmart has seen $33 million in subsidies.

"That's money that's not going to help small businesses, it's money that isn't going to keep classroom sizes small or roads repaired or infrastructure modern," LeRoy said.

"I would call it on par with what is given to most manufacturing companies - Intel, Petsmart," said Mesa City Manager Chris Brady. He said Apple will help local businesses because of the jobs they will generate.

"They get the job, they might buy a house, they go grocery shopping, they buy appliances, they buy cars," Brady said.

Brady said the city also offered Apple an expedited building permit process and may even place building inspectors on site during construction of that major manufacturing plant.

He also said he can't divulge what other deals Apple will get, but claims no one will be losing out, especially the Gilbert Public Schools District.

"When Apple comes in, they're adding so much more value to the property," Brady said. "They're going to receive another $2.5 million that they don't have today."

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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