The proposed expansion of Athenahealth on its face looks like a good deal for the City of Austin: Imagine that the company will be the anchor business at the historic Seaholm Power Plant building, bringing 607 jobs to downtown Austin. As one of the country’s largest makers of software to manage health care records, it fits well with Austin’s burgeoning technology industry and is likely to compliment the city’s emerging medical sector, including a planned new hospital and University of Texas medical school.
Throw in jobs that will average $132,085 a year and the deal looks even better. At those wages, many people who take those jobs will actually be able to afford to live in or near downtown. In exchange for good jobs the city and state proposed a combined $5.7 million in publicly financed incentives for the company. Austin’s portion amounts to $679,000 in tax rebates over 10 years.
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