The Amarillo City Council and the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation have agreed to give SSI Foods LLC and Bovina Burger some expensive special perks—all paid for by Amarillo taxpayers.

The council’s deal includes giving the company an Amarillo EDC grant of up to $1.5 million over five years, along with a complete 100 percent tax exemption over 10 years—perks that are certainly not available to everyday Amarillo citizens, but perks they are paying to give the company.

Both items were unanimously approved by the Amarillo City Council and the Amarillo EDC board of directors, with the tax exemption portion of the deal also being approved by the Potter County Commission and the Amarillo College board of regents.

Because officials are giving the company special treatment, the local government is foregoing property tax money somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.35 million, according to comments made by AEDC President Kevin Carter. That means local officials are forcing existing residents to pay the extra tab while the new company doesn’t have to pay anything.

This is the first Amarillo EDC project to receive a 100 percent tax abatement since the Amarillo City Council passed a new set of economic incentive guidelines in August. According to the guidelines, the abatement approved for this project appears to be the maximum eligible for approval by the city council.

Thomas Warren

Thomas Warren, III is the editor-in-chief of the Amarillo Pioneer newspaper in Amarillo, Texas.