City Council on Thursday approved a six-year, 100 percent tax abatement incentive package valued at just over $240,000 for Ernst & Young. In exchange, the firm has agreed to create 600 full-time jobs in their new service center in Northwest San Antonio.
The accounting and financial services firm is making an $8.5 million capital investment in the facility under construction in Farinon Business Park. Ernst & Young also has 265 employees already working in its downtown location.
City Council also approved a grant that will pay the firm $1,000 for every job it creates with an annual salary over $50,000, up to 309 jobs. Some jobs will pay more than $75,000, according to District 8 Councilman Manny Pelaez, whose district will be home to the firm. The jobs will provide technical management services, including in technology support.
The package gave San Antonio the upper hand in luring the service center over competitors in Atlanta, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida, Pelaez said.
"We could have easily lost this deal," Pelaez said during Thursday's council session. "We're in a bloody-knuckle competition fight with other cities for deals like this."
Council members unanimously supported the package. Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales was absent from Thursday's session after giving birth to a baby girl.
"This project is an affirmation of the city's growing ability to develop strong corporate professional services [and] partnerships with globally recognized companies like Ernst & Young," Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. "We benefit tremendously community-wide."
Bexar County Commissioners will vote on their own incentive package for Ernst & Young on Tuesday. The County is offering a 10-year, 100 percent tax abatement package valued at $249,000. Commissioners also will vote on a grant, not to exceed $100,000, based on 100 new jobs paying more than $50,000 annually.
"We couldn't ask for a better opportunity here in San Antonio," said Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff.
In addition to its multimillion-dollar capital investment, EY also committed to a workforce training program as required by the city's incentive package guidelines.
"Additionally, the company has committed to providing internship programs that support citywide workforce development efforts," said City Manager Sheryl Sculley.
Jeff Rummel, EY's financial services organization Southwest market segment leader, said that the company will be looking to local universities to supply new employees, and not just those in financial majors.
"Most people hear about Ernst & Young [and] they think about accounting, and a bunch of accountants," Rummel said. "We're not hiring accountants to put in this center. We're going to be bringing English majors, psychology majors, criminal justice majors – a variety of majors that are not accountants that will be recruited from local schools."