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Charlotte City Council approves tax breaks for Electrolux, Stanley Black & Decker

The Charlotte City Council paved the way for two corporate expansions Monday by approving tax breaks for Electrolux and Stanley Black & Decker, who have said they will add jobs to their Charlotte locations.

The combined city and county Electrolux incentives are worth $6.4 million in exchange for the household appliance manufacturer creating 610 new jobs with an average wage of $100,000.

But the Stanley Black & Decker jobs pay far less – and required a waiver from city policy to qualify for the tax breaks.

The tool manufacturer has said it wants to bring some manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. from a plant in Reynosa, Mexico. The Connecticut-based company has said it will create 250 new jobs with an average salary of $29,926.

City policy had once been that for a company to be eligible for a Business Investment Grant, its jobs had to pay on average a salary equal to or above the area’s median salary, which is $45,600.

In 2012, council members changed that policy in an effort to attract manufacturing jobs. The current policy states that an expansion or relocation is eligible for the property tax grants if the new jobs pay at or above the industry average.

For manufacturing jobs, the Black & Decker positions falls short. They are about 90 percent of average salary for manufacturing jobs.

The city wants to rebuild its manufacturing jobs, which have declined in the past decade.

Council members did not discuss the Stanley Black & Decker decision, which passed 9-2. Republicans Kenny Smith and Ed Driggs voted no.

The Electrolux incentives also passed 9-2. Smith and Democrat LaWana Mayfield voted no.

Democrat Michael Barnes, the mayor pro tem who is the chair of the city’s economic development committee, said the city isn’t just “writing checks” to attract companies to Charlotte. He said the companies will first pay property taxes on their new investment before receiving the grants, which are based on a portion of those new taxes.

Driggs said he voted for the Electrolux incentives because they were tentatively approved in closed session under a previous council.

“The premise that it’s costless isn’t right,” Driggs said. “There is a cost to it. We need to be very critical in awarding grants that they are absolutely necessary.”

Driggs noted that Electrolux had received previous grants when it moved its North American headquarters to Charlotte from Savannah, Ga., in 2010. The company now employs more than 700 people with an average wage of $94,000 at its University City headquarters.

Stanley Black & Decker currently has 272 workers at its southwest Charlotte plant on Choate Circle.

Harrison: 704-358-5160
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