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State eyes 625 new jobs from $2.3M in tax breaks

First Published      Last Updated May 11 2017 08:51 pm

State economic development officials offered incentives worth up to $2.3 million Thursday to three companies whose projects are projected to create 625 jobs and generate $11.8 million in new state tax revenues.

The Governor's Office of Economic Development board approved post-performance tax-credit rebates to:

• Electronic Power Systems, which is looking to invest $11.6 million and create 128 new jobs as it moves into the Cache Valley to manufacture batteries, primarily for the aerospace industry. Its incentive over seven years could amount to $1.67 million;

• Varo Money, a San Francisco-based company that foresees creating 331 jobs over the next five years by moving some of its financial technology operations into the Salt Lake Valley and making a $2.8 million capital investment. Over five years, its incentive could reach $336,400; and




• Litehouse, Inc., a food-manufacturing company based in Sandpoint, Idaho, which will spend $40 million to expand a facility in Hurricane, creating 165 new jobs over the next eight years. Its incentive: Almost $350,000.

"Keeping the customers you have is the best recipe for success," said Economic Development Corporation of Utah Executive Director Teresa Foxley of the assistance for Litehouse, whose jobs will pay 110 percent of the Washington County average and amount to $45 million over the life of the incentive agreement.

Litehouse's expansion also will generate $1.7 million in corporate, sales and payroll taxes, said GOED Executive Director Val Hale.

Hale hailed the support for Varo Money as a big step forward in Utah's efforts to become a key player in the financial technology sector, noting that Varo is an "all-in-one" mobile banking platform designed to help millennials manage their money.

"The entrepreneurial spirit in the Salt Lake Valley will be a perfect fit with Varo's culture," said Colin Walsh, Varo's co-founder and CEO.

Wages paid to the company's Utah employees are expected to add up to $44.5 million over the next five years. Projected state tax revenues are pegged at $1.7 million.

"Varo Money's decision to expand to Utah demonstrates the power of being in front of the right company at the right time," Foxley said.

Electronic Power Systems could generate almost $8.4 million in new state tax revenues over the next seven years through its move into Cache Valley. Its payroll from the 128 jobs that will result could add up to $38.9 million.

"We are excited to tap into the state's industrious, innovative workforce and to build a world-class energy storage system product line that makes the world safer, cleaner and more mobile," said Electric Power CEO Nathan Millecam.

Originally known in Los Angeles as Phillips Machine & Weld, EP Systems supplied parts for Boeing and Northrop Grumman before venturing into energy-storage systems for electronic vehicles. Its products now include lithium-ion batteries, converters, controllers, software and mechanical packaging for industrial and aerospace markets.

mikeg@sltrib.com

 

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