Less San Antonians Hired by County Commissioners’ Policy
Written by Evan Shimek on July 27, 2018
At the June 19 session of Commissioner Court, County Commissioners voted to lower the number of local people mandated to be hired by companies receiving taxpayer-funded incentives from the County. The motion to cut the minimum local hiree requirement to 50% passed 4-0, with Precinct 4 Commissioner Tommy Calvert absent in observance of the Juneteenth holiday.
Early in 2018, through several fiery op-eds and letters, Commissioner Calvert publicly urged the court to raise the minimum percentage of local hirees from the previous minimum of 25% to 75%.
His efforts were successful and the minimum was raised; however, the court pounced upon the opportunity to lower the minimum that arose with Commissioner Calvert’s absence.
The Precinct 4 Commissioner provided an impassioned response to the Court’s actions:
“The business community and the Court have given up on our own people. I, however, will not give up on our people. The silver bullet [for San Antonio’s workforce] is an increase in adult literacy and job training programs. We should be looking to invest tens of millions of dollars into transitioning our workforce into in-demand careers, but instead we throw up our hands and say ‘let’s dole out millions to bring people from out of town.’”
The Hut Group (THG), a British e-commerce company, is one of most recent businesses to make use of Bexar County’s favorable tax incentives.
Under Calvert’s policy, the company would have been obligated to hire 123 people local San Antonians. Under the Court’s revised 50% policy, The Hut Group only has to hire 82 people. Under the original, outdated mandate, only 41.
Per the terms of the agreement with Bexar County, THG will have to create a minimum of 165 jobs making $70,000 dollars per year. The British-based company would relocate its U.S. operations from Utah to San Antonio and, in return, receive a combined $750,000 from the city of San Antonio and Bexar County.
The move is estimated to generate over $100 million for the Bexar County economy—but identical stimulus could have been achieved utilizing local San Antonians.