Staton Springs Entrance

The JDA met early this morning to agree to $85M more in bonds for a company that makes a profit of $16 Billion a year.  JDA has sent a copy of the agreement for us to review, but there hasn’t been time to do soWe are happy that these bonds weren’t hidden from the public like the $1.1 Billion in original bonds.

Here is a copy of the article posted in the Rockdale Citizen about what happened today.


Rockdale Citizen        

Alice Queen


November 1, 2016

COVINGTON — The Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton counties agreed Tuesday morning to pursue the issuance of $85 million in additional industrial development revenue bonds for Baxalta U.S., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Shire, the biopharmaceutical giant with a plant in Stanton Springs.

The JDA, which owns Stanton Springs, agreed in 2012 to issue $1.137 billion in bonds for the construction of the Baxalta plant, now known as Shire, and to abate taxes on personal and real property at the plant for 10 years as part of an inducement to locate in Stanton Springs. Since 2012, Baxalta estimates its investment exceeded the original projection by $85 million. The additional investment will result in Baxalta paying $29 million more in property taxes and $60 million total over the 10-year abatement period.

According to Andrea Gray, attorney for the JDA, Baxalta’s increased property value will mean increased tax collections, resulting in the counties receiving tax proceeds sooner than originally expected. Under a revenue sharing agreement between the JDA, the counties and the four school systems, all JDA expenses and debt are paid first out of tax proceeds. Gray estimated that Baxalta would pay $270,000 in property taxes to the four counties and $400,000 in school taxes to the four school systems in year one of the abatement schedule, which could begin as early as 2018. Newton County’s share of that would be $97,228 in county taxes, $149,697 in school taxes, $3,375 in EMS taxes and $6,302 in fire district taxes.

Over the 10-year abatement period Newton County stands to receive more than $20 million in net property taxes. Without the additional $85 million in investment, Newton County’s total collection over 10 years was estimated at $10 million.

“The impact of this $85 million additional investment is that we get more tax revenues and we get them sooner than we were going to under the original abatements,” said Gray. “Part of that is the additional $85 million and part of that is the breakdown of how that is put into real property versus machinery and equipment, the values of those.”

The abatement percentages granted to Baxalta vary by year and by property type, with the abatements decreasing over the 10-year period. JDA officials stressed Tuesday that the additional bonds are not a liability for any of the counties involved nor the JDA.

As a condition of the additional bond issue, Baxalta has agreed to pay $2.5 million to the JDA to go toward a loan with the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority that was used to build a wastewater pretreatment plant at Stanton Springs. Gray said the payment on the GEFA loan would decrease the JDA’s annual payments by $100,000. In addition, Baxalta will pay all bond validation expenses and attorney fees for the bond issuance.

Denny Dobbs, one of Newton County’s representatives on the JDA, said the increased property value at Baxalta and the potential for increased tax revenues are evidence of the importance of taking the long view in economic development.

“You have to have a vision and stay the course,” he said.

Baxalta is expected to begin making tax payments to the four counties and the school systems when production begins, which, with FDA approval, could be as early as 2018. Each of the four counties will receive differing allocations of tax payments based on their initial investment in Stanton Springs. Newton and Walton counties will each receive 37.5 percent of tax payments from Baxalta, while Jasper will receive 10 percent and Morgan 15 percent.

Tax abatements are typically used to induce a project to come to a community and are achieved through the issuance of “phantom bonds.” The process involves a government entity taking title to the project, then issuing bonds and leasing the project back to the developer, in this case Baxalta. The developer then pays rent to the governing entity, and those funds are used to pay debt service and repay the bonds. The title transfer and “phantom bond” process are necessary because taxes cannot be abated on private property.

Tuesday’s approval by the JDA is the first step in the process of issuing the $85 million in bonds. The tax assessors of Walton and Newton counties must agree to the property value assessments, and JDA members plan to brief their boards of commissioners and boards of education. The JDA anticipates holding a bond validation hearing in December in Morgan County Superior Court.



Citizens, be informed and stay informed!  Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County.  That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.




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  1. Samuel Hay says:


  2. Baffled says:

    I was curious to find out why a large company such as Shire would want to go the revenue bond route, rather than just borrow the money from a bank or lending institution.

    Here is what Google has to say about that: Industrial Development Revenue Bonds are issued by a government to assist a private company that might otherwise be unable to obtain financing for its industrial venture or unwilling to undertake the project on its own.

    Now why does a multi-national company that just reported record Q3 earnings need to have revenue bonds issued?


    What am I missing?

  3. JDA Issues More Estimates Wrapped Up In Riddles says:

    Tax payments “could” begin as early as 2018?
    So if tax payments fail to begin in 2018, when then? 2020? Is that the year Baxalta is guaranteed to start providing a return on the taxpayers of the four counties multi-million dollar investment?
    Are there any guarantees in JDA’s murky dealings with Baxter/Baxalta/Shire?
    And, who can say what they are? Obviously not the local press.

    Yet again, JDA issues obfuscation based on estimates and what else? Sales and/or profit, or is it Baxalta’s pending FDA approval of some sort of plasma treatment therapy which heralds the beginning of tax payments to the four counties? But then again, what if the FDA does not approve Baxalta’s plasma therapy? Do tax payments from Baxalta automatically begin in 2020? Since no one knows, can tell, or are too terrified to ask, I guess will just have to wait until 2018 and possible on into 20202 to see.


    Two estimates were done, one by the Joint Development Authority’s CPA and one by the Newton County Chief Appraiser. Under the first estimate, the CPA calculated a start date of Baxter making money (which they have to either have FDA approval or by 2020) of 2017 with a phased purchase of equipment. The estimate of taxes collected during a 10-year period under that estimate is $31.2 million for the four counties in the agreement (Newton, Walton, Jasper and Morgan). With the second estimate, all equipment would be purchased in a year with a 2020 state date, bringing the amount collected to $49.6 million. These numbers are based on the Walton County millage rate, since the first phase of Baxter will be built on the Walton side of Stanton Springs.


    Most of the approximately 1,600 acres in Stanton Springs is owned by the JDA and, as such, is not on the tax rolls. The 160 acres purchased by Baxalta, which is mostly in Walton County, will not be taxed until 2018 under tax abatement agreements. However, over the years, Technology Park Atlanta and its related companies have purchased acreage in the park, which is taxable.


    Gray estimated that Baxalta would pay $270,000 in property taxes to the four counties and $400,000 in school taxes to the four school systems in year one of the abatement schedule, which could begin as early as 2018.
    Baxalta is expected to begin making tax payments to the four counties and the school systems when production begins, which, with FDA approval, could be as early as 2018.

  4. Stop JDA says:

    Every time JDA signs another agreement I feel violated!

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