No doubt about it, Austin is a tech hub and major companies are considering investing there. The latest big name to consider plans to build a manufacturing complex in the area is Micron Technology, headquartered in Boise, Idaho. Micron is one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies. They make computer memory and data storage chips used in automobiles, computers and servers, consumer electronics, smartphones, and other communications products.
Micron applied for tax breaks with the state of Texas for an eight phase semiconductor manufacturing facility in Lockhart, Caldwell County, and the BBQ capital of Texas. Their potential investment is at least $20 billion through 2030 with more in the following decade.
They applied to the Lockhart school district for the tax breaks under the Chapter 313 incentive program but final approval has not been granted as of the date of this post. Chapter 313 is scheduled to end in December 2022. Applicants approved before then will be permitted to benefit from the tax breaks when they do begin doing business in the area. As a result, there has been an influx of applications from companies to beat the deadline, including Samsung, NXP, and Applied Materials.
Micron is considering a number of locations and has indicated that the tax incentives are a “determining factor” in how it will choose the final location.
The Austin Regional Manufacturers Association is on board with the Micron project. According to Ed Latson, CEO of the association, adding Micron to the list of companies already investing in the region would position Austin as “the most dynamic and strong business community” in the semiconductor space.
Thom Singer, CEO of the Austin Technology Council also sees the Micron application as positive for the area, providing the opportunity for the growth of good-paying tech jobs, among other positive economic factors.
Chips and Science Act
In July, the United States Congress passed a bill to encourage companies to build semiconductor manufacturing facilities in the U.S. It includes funding for companies, like Micron, that make computer chips, tax credits to encourage investment in chip manufacturing, and funds for scientific research and development for chips and other U.S technologies. One objective is to reduce reliance on the chip supply chains overseas that resulted in shortages during the pandemic.
Congressman Michael McCaul, R-Austin, believes that the Austin area will be a main benefactor of the legislation since semiconductor companies already make up a quarter of the manufacturing there. The proposed new facilities are expected to create thousands of new, high-paying jobs in the area. According to McCaul, “These aren’t just manufacturing jobs, these are careers.”
Although the Micron application is not yet approved, Austin is a hot market for tech jobs. CompTIA listed Austin as the top area for five year projected job growth in the tech field. If the prediction holds, Austin will add 22,000 tech jobs by 2027.