Sandoval defends secrecy, tax breaks needed to lure Apple
By Sean Whaley
Nevada News Bureau
Gov. Brian Sandoval today defended the secretive process that led to a decision by Apple to build a data center and related facilities in the Reno area that will bring $1 billion in investment over the next decade.
“This is a long-term negotiation,” he said in an interview on the “Nevada NewsMakers” television program. “We’re talking to companies all the time and there is always a confidentiality provision. If there was some public discussion with regard to what the negotiations were, it could have nixed the deal. And I don’t want to take that risk.
“Once the deal was struck then it immediately was given to the local governments,” Sandoval said.
“There were public hearings that all occurred yesterday and the day before before the Washoe County Commission, before the Washoe County School Board, before the Reno City Council, that gave ample opportunity for comment and debate.”
A big part of the deal was $89 million in state and local tax breaks to lure the Cupertino, Calif., company to Northern Nevada. Sandoval also defended the incentives being provided to Apple.
“There are 49 other states who would have loved to have what we have,” he said. “And there were negotiations that went on back-and-forth. I had an opportunity to meet with some of the Apple officials early on and I think it was a great outcome for Nevada.
“I think it’s going to be a very strong magnet for us,” he said. “It shows that we’re in the game. It’s very competitive for these data centers across the United States. And Apple is going to look to see where we can go.”
“When you catch an Apple, we had to do what we had to do to get them here,” Sandoval said.
“But yes, we’re giving those $89 million but we’re also going to be getting so much more than that,” he said. “We are still going to be receiving tax revenue for our schools and for our local governments. It’s going to be producing tertiary jobs in the community as well. There are going to be 40-plus full-time jobs at Apple. There is going to be a huge amount of construction that is going to produce 400 to 500 jobs. I can’t say it over and over enough that it is a big win for us.”
The deal depends on all the tax breaks being approved.
“We hope to build Apple’s next data center in Reno to support Apple’s iTunes Store, App Store and incredibly popular iCloud services,” Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet told AllThingsD.
Sandoval said the development is unique because there is no data center now in Northern Nevada, so the agreement and related tax breaks is not anti-competitive with other area businesses that might want incentives to expand.
“It’s apples and oranges,” he said. “Of course we want to help the existing businesses in the state of Nevada.”
The state also wants to pursue other companies that might bring data centers or other business components here, Sandoval said.