Apple in the Valley hinges on school board tax decision - CBS 5 - KPHO

Apple in the Valley hinges on school board tax decision

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MESA, AZ (CBS5) -

Mesa City Manager Chris Brady says Gilbert Public Schools won't miss out on a thing when it comes to tax breaks given to Apple.

"Gilbert Public Schools will collect three times more than they have today, and Apple has guaranteed that it will never go below what they currently collect today," Brady explained.

But as CBS 5 News reported Wednesday night, at least one board member was opposed to the district signing a letter of "no objection" to the tax breaks, potentially stopping the Apple deal dead in its tracks.

"I guess we were a little surprised because we had provided information three weeks ago, but at the same time we know this is a big deal," Brady added.

That board member in opposition said small businesses don't get the same breaks.

"It is a benefit to encourage and level the playing field for manufacturing companies that are competing with overseas companies," Brady clarified. "It's available for all companies that are dealing with customs and duties."

But late Thursday, CBS 5 News learned the Apple project may have cleared the Gilbert schools hurdle.

We received the following statement from GPS governing board president Staci Burk. As of Wednesday, she was going to be the swing vote on the tax breaks.

"While I am not normally supportive of corporate tax breaks due to the inherent inequity associated with them, after a thorough evaluation I believe that the economic benefit of having this firm as an integral part of the GPS community far outweighs any potential drawbacks. I have assured this firm of my support of the proposal moving forward which contains a hold harmless clause in favor the District. The associates have provided me with assurance that this project will continue to move forward as planned once the board vote is formalized on Monday.  We look forward to continue working collaboratively with this firm to find ways to improve the educational opportunities for our Gilbert students."

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