05/29/2012 11:49 am ET

After Apple Tax Rebate, Travis County Weighs Making It Easier For Companies To Get Tax Breaks

After giving Apple a controversial multimillion dollar tax break, one Texas county is considering instituting a policy that would give tax breaks to more businesses.

Travis County, the home of Austin, Texas, is weighing a new policy that would give businesses a tax rebate of up to 80 percent if they meet certain requirements, the Austin American-Statesman reports. Under the new proposal, any business could get the tax rebate if it invests at least $25 million in expansion, hires at least 50 local workers, and hires or trains the "economically disadvantaged."

The proposal comes after Travis County approved a controversial tax rebate of between $5.4 million and $6.4 million for Apple earlier this month, according to a separate Austin American-Statesman report. To qualify for the tax rebate, Apple must build a $226 million office in the Austin area and pay an average salary of $35,000 for the bottom 10 percent of its workers.

Meanwhile, Travis County recently raised property taxes to compensate for state and federal budget cuts, according to a separate Austin American-Statesman report. Texas also is laying off 49,000 teachers and cutting financial aid for 43,000 Texas college students, according to the Texas State Teachers Association.

Travis County's tax break is the smallest rebate that was approved for Apple's proposed campus in Austin. Texas and the city of Austin already have approved a cumulative $29.6 million in tax breaks for Apple.

The city of Austin estimates that the net economic benefit of Apple's new campus in Austin would be $23.2 million over 14 years, just two-thirds the size of the tax breaks that state and local governments have approved for Apple.

Local governments across the country are giving tax breaks to businesses, while they slash spending for education and other services. Even as Texas has approved massive tax breaks for Apple, it is laying off tens of thousands of teachers and cutting financial aid for college students.

Apple plans to hire 3,600 workers and pay them an average $63,950 per year, according to the city of Austin.

The tax breaks from Travis County isn't the only way Apple is sidestepping taxes. The company is holding about two-thirds of its money overseas, where it pays an international tax rate of less than 3 percent.