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Price for Baxter worth it
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As you may have read in Friday's edition, Baxter International is getting more than $200 million in local and state incentives, including sales and property tax breaks, job tax credits, free land and infrastructure and hiring assistance.

While that's one of the largest incentive packages in Georgia's history, state and local leaders are banking on Baxter being a major economic driver by itself as well as making Georgia and Stanton Springs a major player in the highly sought after biotech field.

And that's really the key to the deal.

Yes, giving a company a $200 million tax break stings, particularly when that company won't be up and running for six years.
However, if Baxter makes Georgia a national player in the biotech field and allows it to recruit future industries, including a few that choose Stanton Springs, that will make giving up future tax money worth it.

Stanton Springs needed this. Local supporters always said it was only a matter of time before we landed a big industry, but every year that passed made residents more critical of the project.

As far as Newton's part of the deal, it's a little more complex than it appears at first glance. Because the county owns a 37.5 percent stake in Stanton Springs, which is jointly owned by Newton, Walton, Morgan and Jasper counties, its share of any tax breaks and future tax revenues is also 37.5 percent.

According to the math, Newton's share of local property tax incentives is $35.3 million over the next 15 years, in addition to its share of building a wastewater plant and waiving $613,400 in various construction-related fees.

The county's share of tax revenue paid by Baxter during that time will be $11.7 million.

However, one of the state's incentives is building a $14 million biotech training center in Stanton Springs that will be used by Baxter initially, but be available to future companies. That in itself is a great get for local counties.

The price to get Baxter was steep, of that there's no doubt. The companies have the leverage and they wisely use it to get the best deal for themselves. However, an empty Stanton Springs benefits no one, and a company can only save on sales and property tax if it's generating those things.

The pay off in the Baxter deal will be delayed, but we're hopeful this community will be much better off in the long run.