By Tony Davis for Arizona Daily Star
Biotech seed giant Monsanto and Pima County are negotiating a possible incentive package that would substantially reduce the property tax burden of a planned Monsanto greenhouse in the Avra Valley.
The basis on which the greenhouse parcel’s tax bill is determined would be reduced by two-thirds under the proposal.
Pima County officials had kept details of the incentive discussions under wraps.
But information about the Monsanto proposal — including the Avra Valley location — surfaced last week through email exchanges between PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP officials, representing Monsanto, and Pima County Joint Technical Education District, a technical-educational program.
Monsanto has offered to invest $100M in the greenhouse and hire 30 to 60 people to work there, said an email from a Monsanto representative to JTED.
Monsanto is shopping the proposal to JTED and two other educational institutions whose property tax revenues could be reduced by a tax break for the seed company: Pima Community College and the Marana School District.
The greenhouse, where corn and soybean seeds would be grown for research purposes, would be built in unincorporated Pima County along Twin Peaks Road just west of Marana. Monsanto officials hope to start construction by the end of this year.
For Monsanto to qualify for the tax incentive, Pima County would have to put the greenhouse parcel into a federally designated Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ). Such zones operate under authority of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
JTED’s Governing Board will discuss the Monsanto foreign trade zone proposal at its Oct. 18 meeting.
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