Texas Business Report: Texas Enterprise Fund Spends $21 Million to Woo Apple

The state pays big bucks to bring Apple (and 3,600 jobs) to Austin, Texans eat out more often than residents of any other state, and the Capitol City will bring in $264 million this month. 
Sat March 10, 2012 3:30 am
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The Texas economy is one of the most robust in the world. Wildly profitable companies and ingenious entrepreneurs call this state home, and what happens here influences businesses around the nation. Here’s a slice of the profits, losses, big deals, and backroom decisions happening across Texas this week.  

Apple Opportunity
Apple announced today that it plans to open a new $304 million campus in Austin, creating as many as 3,600 jobs in the city, according to the Austin American-Statesman . The newspaper reports that the campus “will more than double the size of Apple’s workforce in Texas over the next decade.” The computer maker intends to use the planned facility as a base for its regional support, accounting and sales operations.

The Bottom Line : The state will pay Apple $21 million in incentives from the Texas Enterprise Fund as part of its agreement to expand operations here.

Hungry Hungry Houston
Perhaps tempted by the smell of smoked brisket and the steamy sizzle of fajita skillets, Texans eat at restaurants more frequently than residents of any other state. According to a Zagat survey released March 6, the statewide average is 3.8 meals per week per person, about twenty percent higher than the national average of 3.1, the Houston Business Journal reports. Houston led the state with an average of 4.1 weekly restaurant meals per person.

The Bottom Line : The food in Texas is delicious, and it’s also cheap: The average cost of a meal is $32.17, versus the national average of $35.62.  

$X$W
South by Southwest kicks off today in Austin, luring a mob of tech and entertainment aficionados from around the globe. The ten-day film, interactive and music festival is expected to bring about 286,000 attendees and generate roughly $167 million for the local economy, according to the Austin Business Journal . This year’s big names include Bruce Springsteen, Jay-Z, Al Gore, and Joss Whedon.

The Bottom Line : As the ABJ reports, March is an active month for the Capitol City. In addition to SXSW, the city will host several other major events this month that pump revenue into local coffers: Rodeo Austin ($68 million), UIL basketball tournaments ($19 million), Texas Relays ($8 million), and the Capitol 10K ($2 million).

Please Retweet — Don’t Eat that Meat!
Social media will soon play a larger role in spreading the word about threats to food safety Texas. This week the U.S. Department of Agriculture launched state-specific Twitter accounts “designed to give consumers alerts about recalls of meat, poultry and processed egg products,” the Dallas Business Journal reports

The Bottom Line : The Texas account, @TX_FSISAlert, is off to a slow start in its first week. So far it has only tweeted twice and accumulated fewer than 150 followers. Meanwhile, more than 260,000 people follow the USDA’s national account

Losers of the Week: Boarding Group A
Southwest Airlines took legal action this week to shut down a third-party website that automated the carrier’s flight check-in process, the Dallas Business Journal reports. Southwest allows passengers to check in starting 24 hours before a flight, but for a $5 fee, MySouthwestCheckin.com allowed customers to submit their flight information in advance and automatically checked them in via Southwest’s website as soon as the window officially opened — guaranteeing them prime placement in the first boarding group.

The airline claims the website violated its terms of use and caused it to miss out on sales opportunities. Now all that remains of the shuttered site is a brief message to its users: “Southwest is hassling us with legal stuff, so this project is done. Sorry, folks.” 

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