Two down, two to go: Grayson County approves Texas Instruments incentives

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Grayson County Judge Bill Magers talks on a proposed Texas Instruments product plant in Sherman during discussions on tax abatements that the county is offering the company.

Grayson County Commissioners became the second entity to say yes to a new proposed $29.4 billion high-tech production plant Tuesday when it approved a series of incentives for Texas Instruments. The move by the county comes just one day after the city of Sherman passed its own incentives to keep the long-standing employer in the region and expand its operations.

Grayson County is the second of four taxing entities that are expected to consider tax abatements related to the new production facility. Sherman ISD is currently considering abatements and Grayson College officials are expected to discuss others during a meeting next week.

More:TI gets 90 percent abatement, rebate agreement from Sherman

"I mean this sincerely. Days like today are why you run for office," Grayson County Judge Bill Magers said Tuesday.  "This is an opportunity to impact our community for years to come."

Grayson County Commissioners unanimously approved a series of eight abatements and rebates for a proposed $29.6 billion Texas Instruments production plant Tuesday morning.

The county's agreement matches that of the city of Sherman. The county is offering a 10-year property tax abatement and 20 year rebate, both set at 90 percent, for all four phases of the project.

Despite the reduction in revenues, Magers said the agreement is still a boon for the county if TI does build in Sherman. As an example, Magers said the $29.4 billion investment is a significant boost to the current $10.8 billion of taxable value in Grayson County.

More:New TI plant could bring $29B investment

The development will also be a boon for county coffers. The new facility is expected to generate about $1 million in new tax revenue. By comparison, the current budget included $1.3 million in new value.

"Basically, this one project would double the revenue from new growth, and that is how we fund our government here, as everyone knows," Magers said.

Magers personally spoke in favor of the abatements, noting that the county is not giving any current funds to the company, and instead is simply making it easier for TI to do business in Texoma.

"We are not giving any money to TI. We are simply lowering their cost of doing business in the county of Grayson," he said.

With Grayson County joining Sherman, SISD and Grayson College are now the two the remaining taxing entities that have not formally made a decision on abatements for the project. The school district is currently considering its options, and the college board is expected to meet next week. 

If all four incentives are passed, Magers said the region has a good chance of winning the new facility over its current competition: Singapore.

"I've been involved as a mayor and county judge in a lot of deals, and I haven't seen one go this far that didn't happen," he said.

More:Sherman creates TI investment zone, sets stage for tax abatements

An embedded processor from Texas Instruments.

More:SEDCO approves $9.19M budget amid potential TI project

About the new facility

In August, Texas Instruments revealed that Sherman is one of two cities being considered for a new state-of-the-art production plant, which would replace its current facility. In 2020, the company announced plans to cease operations at its current facility in the next few years.

Throughout Tuesday's meeting, Magers compared the new proposed plant to the hey-day of TI in the 70s and 80s.

The new $29.4 billion facility would be built in four phases, with the first phase expected to represent about $6.5 billion of investment. At full buildout, the plant is expected to employ about 3,200 employees.

The new plant would focus on the manufacturing of 300 mm silicon wafers as the current facility ramps down production on 150 mm wafers. These components have multiple uses in electronics, vehicles and other products.

More:Paving way for new multi-billion dollar facility, SISD accepts TI tax abatement application