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Pfizer seeks tax breaks in return for planned $456m facility

Published on 28/03/18 at 09:54am

Pfizer has submitted proposals to officials in Portage, Michigan, for a major expansion of its manufacturing site in the city.

The planned expansion would cost $456 million to complete and, according to Pfizer, would create 140 new jobs within two years, with a further 450 jobs being added within six years. The project would see a two-story, 400,000-square-foot sterile processing facility be created.

In return for creating a number of jobs in the community, Pfizer wants its taxes halved on its property in the Kalamazoo County for 12 years. This would amount to a $11.53 million tax break, the lion share of which ($4.46 million) would have gone to Portage City.

Pfizer presented analysis to officials that suggested the completed project would bring $15.3 million in economic benefits to the city, ostensibly offsetting the losses that would be incurred by the tax break.

Portage Mayor, Patricia Randall, is reported to have said of the project, “I've always believed what's good for Portage is good for Pfizer and what's good for Pfizer is good for Portage […] Pfizer is filing for a 12-year tax abatement and its part of a state-wide program, with the state. It has not approved it yet. So, we're doing this a little bit early."

She added, “I think this is a fantasy, it's a dream for any community to get this type of investment.”

Should the state of Michigan approve the application, Pfizer would begin construction of the facility this year and could complete the work in three years.

The completed facility would make active pharmaceutical ingredients for both Pfizer and other drug companies, as well as sterile injectables.

Pfizer currently owns the world’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturing site in Portage, after acquiring it from The Upjohn Company in 2003. The complex was originally built in the 1940s and Pfizer has added more than 100 employees to the area since 2014.

The further expansion of Pfizer’s manufacturing presence should chime well with President Trump’s repeated calls to increase the amount of pharmaceuticals produced on US soil.

Ben Hargreaves

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