TAX CREDITS: Not Everyone’s Hitting ‘Like’

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Altoona City Council members unanimously approved a plan for a second massive building for Facebook, as part of a one billion dollar data center.

Altoona beat out Nebraska for the project by offering Facebook 20-years of property tax free operation and 18-million dollars in tax credits.

"Yeah, they're not going to pay taxes directly for 20-years," Mayor  Skip Conkling says. "They are buying water from us. They're paying for the sewer usage. They've got 30-to-40 employees that are going to make I guess between 50-to-100 thousand dollars every year. The technical people."

The mayor says that adds up to millions of dollars in revenue for Altoona, not to mention hundreds of construction jobs.

"It's really created a ton of jobs," Councilman Kyle Mertz says. "You think about four hundred jobs in the industry, in the construction industry, these will be there for a while. They've been there for a couple years. they're going to be there for a few years more."

And while no one spoke against the plan in Monday night's meeting, some folks, ironically posting on Facebook, are slamming Facebook believing Altoona and the state are literally giving away the farm.

Kraig Behning writes: "So we need thousands of bridges and roads fixed in Iowa, which is paid for through taxes, but all Iowa seems to know how to do is decrease the amount of corporate taxes paid...gee, I think I see a problem soon becoming a catastrophe very soon."

And Patti Guy Sheeler writes: "We have no trouble taking property tax from people trying to make ends meet, but a huge corp. such as Facebook and they catch a huge break. really?"

Mayor Conkling says, "The state worked out this agreement that we have with Facebook. We can throw blame back and forth but I don't think we want blame. I think if we want progress, and you don't want it to go, in this case, to Nebraska, if you're gonna play you're gonna pay."

City leaders say they are seeing a ripple effect. They say drawing other businesses to Altoona is a lot easier when they can boast that the city soon to be home to a one-billion dollar Facebook facility.


  • gimmieabreak

    “They’ve got 30-to-40 employees that are going to make I guess between 50-to-100 thousand dollars every year. The technical people.”

    the tech people — I guess!?!?!
    (now there’s leadership for ya)

    test em for THC (harmless mar-e-wanna)….they’ll be down to half that pay and then the locals will be pickin-up the enormous property tax bill for another 20 years.

    • IT Professional for 1/4 of a century

      Ok, dude, I’ve been a ‘tech person’ for 25 years. Married to a tech person for 20 of those years.

      between the 2 of us, we’ve worked at 6 different companies over the years, ranging from one of the largest employers in the state (over 2000 ‘tech people’) to some of the smallest.

      I have yet to run into anyone who smokes pot.

      You are obviously an uneducated, uninformed, basement dweller.

      • gimmieabreak

        not a basement dweller but oh how that one hurt..(((ouch)))
        allow me to inform the delusional:
        the greatest IT tech ever lived smokes marijuana.
        I believe he goes by Bill Gates.

    • IT Professional for 1/4 of a century.

      Oh…well…gosh….you are right….one guy admitted to smoking pot once and he is in IT……therefore they are ALL potheads.

      Obama smoked pot too, so….are all politicians dope smokers?

    • IT Professional for 1/4 of a century.

      Oh, and I notice you denied the basement dweller part, but, not the uneducated, uninformed part.

    • IT Professional for 1/4 of a century

      Umm….Rebecca, do you know ANYTHING AT ALL about IT jobs?? I do, between my husband and I, we have 50 years of experience in the tech world.
      yes, if they are truly IT jobs, they WILL be earning that much.

      I certainly don’t make the kind of money that a doctor or a CEO makes, but, I make a comfortable living. Part of that is because the company owns me 24X7, 365 days a year.

      The companies I have worked in have all been financial. If a system goes down on Christmas Eve, you drive in to the office (or connect remotely if you can) and you work until it is fixed. If a report is due tot he state in 2 days, you work around the clock until it is done.

      I would assume Facebook will put the same sort of demands on it’s people. My gosh, can you imagine if Candy Crush was down for an hour? It would be anarchy.

  • Wyatt

    The ignorance flows. As somebody who actively works in the tech and data center industry (I’m 18 years old and own my own company; deal with it and move on.), I can very happily say that Data Center Operations executives, Systems Administrators, and even on-floor technicians will be making $40,000-$150,000 a year.

    The reason being that they have to act quickly and effectively to respond to any issues that might arise – Anything from attacks on their servers to natural disasters to simple hardware or network failure. They have to have extensive training to know exactly what they’re doing, especially when it comes to massive clouds and web developments like what Facebook has set up.

      • IT Professional for 1/4 of a century

        Wow, Wyatt, Kudos to you! Informed, intelligent, educated, and driven. You should be very proud of your accomplishments. At 18 you’ve accomplished more than many will accomplish by 50!

      • Wyatt

        I’d wish to respond to “gimmieabreak”. I, at the least, use the name that my parents gave me. I’m not afraid of judgement on the Internet like… some people.

        So, I’ll reiterate that, although young, I do run a legally registered hosting business. I focus mainly on the hosting of online game servers, virtual private servers, dedicated servers, and web hosting. I also hold a basic degree in Business Administration through high-school-sponsored classes.

        Just because I am young doesn’t mean I am clueless, my friends. Especially when it comes to working in the field of technology, today’s young people are more experienced – For the simple fact that we have been exposed to technology and given the chance to learn about technology since we were born, and many of the older generations have not. Learn to respect the skills and values of young people, get off your high horse, take it down a few notches, cry me a river, then build a bridge and get over it. Thank you for your time.

      • IT professional for 1/4 of a century

        ‘Millions in unearned welfare’? what the heck does that mean?
        You and William Denison must be friends, you are both so negative.
        Are you calling the ‘tax abatements’ welfare? I agree, it stinks that businesses get them. But, so do people building new homes. Is that welfare too? If one town doesn’t offer the abatement, another will and they will get the business.

        Just because you were full of BS when you were in IT, does not mean we all are. some of us take a lot of pride in our work and we work very hard. I work with some very good people. Most are very family oriented. The IT people I work with are supportive of one another. I am very pleased to name them among my friends.

  • Dawn W.

    my only gripe about the 20 year abatement is, in this day and age, how confident are you that FB will still be around in 20 years….

  • Dan P

    My complaint is that with all of the tax breaks, they should be required to purchase local materials and goods that are available for them to use. On the first project they purchased all materials from California. All of these exact materials are available through local contractors. Local purchasing should be a minimum requirement for any company receiving local tax incentives

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  • IT Professional for 1/4 of a century.

    Wyatt, hope you see this –
    You have restored my faith in the younger generation!!
    What a well spoken, confident young man you are!

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