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Incentives target 500 jobs in Weber County

Published July 11, 2014 7:33 am

Economy • Tax credits offered to bakery, online insurance company.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

State officials are offering incentive packages to two companies that, if accepted, could add 500 jobs to Weber County's workforce.

The Governor's Office of Economic Development board approved post-performance tax credits Thursday for:

CSM Bakery Products, which makes cakes, cookies and other sweets for grocers, bakeries and food-service operators. If CSM expands an existing facility in the northern Weber County city of Pleasant View, it expects to add 100 jobs in six years.

Consumer United, a Boston-based online financial-services company that helps customers do comparative shopping for insurance products from multiple vendors. It plans to create 400 jobs in the next seven years.

GOED put out news releases Thursday indicating both incentive packages were done deals, but spokesman Michael Sullivan later clarified they are essentially complete but that details are being finalized.

"Consumer United is a big player in the online insurance industry," said Jeff Edwards, president of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCU) and a GOED trustee, noting that the state would like to attract more insurance companies to set up shop here.

"This new office will strengthen the industry," he added, "and help us create the critical mass necessary to attract additional companies."

GOED's incentive plan provides that once an operation is running and meets criteria laid out in its contract with the state, the company is eligible to apply each year for a portion of the tax credit.

The incentive to Consumer United would slightly exceed $1 million over seven years. That figure represents 20 percent of the $5.3 million in new state revenue projected to come from the operation, which is being considered for Roy, Ogden or Clearfield.

Wages and benefits for the 400 positions would be 125 percent of the county's average, totaling $121.7 million in the next seven years. Consumer United is choosing between Utah and competing offers from Arizona, Colorado, Tennessee and Texas.

"It's very important to find the right community with the right workforce," said Jorge Sanchez, a business development manager for EDCU. "They hire people right out of college and train them to get them certified to sell insurance."

In a telephone call to the board, Consumer United chief financial officer Mitch Mackoff said his company "liked the quality of college graduates" in Utah. It is looking for people with non-technical degrees and fewer job options after graduation, he added.

One of North American's largest wholesale bakers, CSM Bakery Products is considering Pleasant View — along with sites in California and Texas — for a bakery to produce a new cookie line, said board member Jerry Oldroyd.

To get it, Utah is offering an incentive in the form of a $313,500 tax credit, a fifth of the $1.6 million in new state revenues the bakers would generate over the agreement's six-year life. The 100 employees CSM would add over that time would receive $12.6 million in wages.

"This is a good opportunity for a rural part of that county," Oldroyd said, observing that company officials said they liked the management team in place in Pleasant View and the employees' work ethic.

mikeg@sltrib.com Twitter: @sltribmikeg