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Tallahassee Seeking To Lure Piper Aircraft Factory

Tallahassee is in competition with Vero Beach, Oklahoma City and Columbia, S.C., for the factory that would bring 1,500 jobs to the area.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - City commissioners approved a financial incentive package worth nearly $90 million in an effort to lure a Piper Aircraft Inc. factory that could bring 1,500 jobs to the area.

Tallahassee is vying with Albuquerque and three other cities to get the factory, where the aircraft maker would develop and build a new single-engine PiperJet.

The very light jet airplane is smaller and costs less than traditional business jets. Its list price is $2.2 million.

The project would include manufacturing and office space at Tallahassee Regional Airport. The jobs would have an average salary of $50,000 a year and have an economic impact approaching $500 million for the Tallahassee area.

The plan isn't a straight giveaway. Piper would make lease payments over 30 years to cover debt incurred by the city for the incentive package. Property taxes paid by the company would reduce debt service payments.

Other cities hoping to land the facility are Vero Beach, where Piper is based; Oklahoma City; and Columbia, S.C.

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