IBM To Receive $7.8 Million Tax Break For Hiring 600 Workers

y Emery P. Dalesio, AP Business Writer

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — An IBM Corp. subsidiary will hire 600 workers over the next two years and could get a tax rebate of up to $7.8 million while paying wages below the local average.

IBM Lender Business Process Services Inc. will open a service center in Research Triangle Park, Gov. Beverly Perdue's office said Thursday. IBM has been a major employer in the area for 45 years. The company's North Carolina campus is its largest in the U.S. with about 10,000 employees.

If the company hires at least 540 people by the end of next year and retains the jobs it could collect up to $7.8 million in rebated taxes.

The company expects to pay an average of $50,000 a year plus benefits for the new positions. It must pay at least $45,000 a year to collect the tax breaks. Durham County's average wage is $57,772.

The state's decision to grant financial incentives to a company paying less than the local average wage is part of a pattern of lowering the bar for inducements as hiring has dwindled.

Perdue's administration last month offered $1.1 million in state breaks to a division of Canadian auto-parts giant Magna International to expand factories in three hard-hit counties and add nearly 330 jobs paying wages of at least $30,017. That wage is below the local average in Rowan and Catawba counties, but higher than in Caldwell County.

All three counties have unemployment rates higher than the statewide average.

In May, state officials promised $127,000 under a different incentive program to a textile company that plans to pay workers an average of about $2 above the minimum wage. Advanced Textile Solutions could collect the grant if it creates 127 jobs in Caldwell County paying an average of $19,000 per year.

IBM Lender Business Process Services is part of the technology giant's effort to expand the services it offers to businesses that want to outsource work. The IBM subsidiary boasts that it uses automation and imaging technology to drive down processing and management costs for mortgage lenders.