The Austin City Council voted 7-3 Thursday to approve an incentives package potentially worth up to $856,000 to pharmaceutical giant Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., which is promising to bring at least 600 new jobs to the city.
The agreement, Austin’s first major corporate incentives grant since 2014, would pay $200 a year for each full-time job that Merck creates and retains under the 10-year contract. The jobs would pay an average salary of $84,586 annually.
The approval came after less than an hour of debate Thursday, with Council Members Delia Garza, Greg Casar and Ellen Troxclair casting the “no” votes. Council Member Leslie Pool was absent.
“I realize there’s never a perfect package that we vote on here,” Garza said. “My biggest concern is the type of jobs this company is bringing.” She said her priority is “jobs that help our low and middle income families, and I don’t see this in this package.”