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Incentives of $54.3M attached to biopharmaceutical industry expansion

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(The Center Square) – The large-scale cell culture manufacturing facility under construction in North Carolina has been approved for $18 million in job creation grants, triggering a $1.2 billion, 680-job expansion by Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies North Carolina.

Government leaders praised the news on Thursday. Critics of taxpayer subsidies lamented yet another offering to a company that may not have needed it. Fujifilm Holdings Corp. closed its last fiscal year with $18.8 million in revenue.

State and local incentives will total $54.3 million for the plant.

Fujifilm Diosynth is expected to be in operation next calendar year. Jobs, the government and company say, are now expected to number 1,400 by 2031 and the investment is up to $3.2 billion.

The $109,000 average in annual salary is 45.6% higher than the Wake County mean of $74,866.

Nearly $15 million in state job development investment grants will be distributed to the company over 12 years, according to the state.

“State payments only occur following performance verification by the departments of Commerce and Revenue that the company has met its incremental job creation and investment targets,” a news release said.

Jon Sanders, director of the John Locke Foundation’s Center for Food, Power and Life, questioned the need for the state incentives.

“You’re giving government money away,” he told The Center Square. “If this is a product that people actually have an interest in, why does the government need to get involved?”

When deciding where to locate, companies care more about factors such as location, taxes, regulation and schools, Sanders said.

State funds devoted to investment incentives could have been used for other government programs, said Sanders.

“You never see the alternate uses they could have gone to,” he said. “But they would also go to productive endeavors that would create jobs in communities. But they are not jobs that you can count because they are spread out over the entire state.”

According to the state of North Carolina, the state’s investment will more than pay for itself, producing a 298% return in the form of increased tax revenue.

“For every dollar of potential cost to the state, the state receives $3.98 in state revenue,” the state said in a news release.

“The new jobs created by the expansion of Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies in Wake County is yet another example of the thriving economic relationship between North Carolina and Japan, and we are grateful for their continuing investments in our state,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement. “Japanese companies continue to provide good-paying jobs and economic opportunity for people across North Carolina.”

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