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1/5/2016 11:00:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

FedEx Threatens to Move Tennessee Technology Center if It Doesn't Get 20 More Years of Tax Breaks

FedEx is threatening to move its massive information technology center out of Collierville, Tennessee, if the town government doesn't give the company millions of dollars worth of additional tax breaks over 20 years.

The Memphis-based shipping giant is Collierville's biggest employer, with 2,500 high-paying jobs at the 10-building information technology campus on Bailey Station Road, said John D. Duncan, the town's director of economic development. The town advertises the company's presence as it tries to attract more corporate headquarters and similar office jobs. Duncan said he supports the additional tax breaks to keep FedEx in town: "It's a crown jewel."

He said the company hasn't mentioned a possible relocation site. "As they would tell you, they're looking at all options and alternatives as they make their analysis," he said.

FedEx is in discussions to renew one or more of its three leases at the Collierville tech center, FedEx spokesman Jack Pfeiffer wrote in a statement. "Our investment in the people and local economy is proof of our commitment to the area, but as with any negotiation, we must consider all options," he wrote. He said that if the 400 outside contractors who work on the technology campus are included, the number of workers there is 2,900.

He also reiterated a statement that a FedEx official made last year — that FedEx might move additional facilities out of the Memphis metro area if it doesn't get the tax breaks known as payments in lieu of tax, or PILOTs. "PILOTs have helped the Memphis metropolitan area successfully attract and keep companies like FedEx, which, with more than 30,000 team members in the Memphis area, is proud to be the largest private employer in the region." FedEx's demand for local tax breaks in Collierville reflects a bigger pattern of the company seeking to reduce the amount it pays to governments. FedEx receives property tax breaks from other local governments in the Memphis area and similar support in other states. The company successfully lobbied the Tennessee Legislature to vote last year to limit the jet fuel tax it paid, saving it millions.

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By Daniel Connolly
The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.


Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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