Syngenta GMO Lawsuits

This April 18, 2017, file photo shows the suburban Minneapolis headquarters of Syngenta in Minnetonka, Minneapolis.

CALDWELL — Canyon County commissioners Steve Rule and Tom Dale approved a five-year, 50-percent property tax exemption for Syngenta Crop Production’s proposed development in Nampa, over objections from Canyon Highway District No. 4 and Star Fire Protection District.

Commissioner Pam White was absent during the vote.

According to documents provided by Canyon County, Syngenta proposes to invest about $35 million in greenhouses and manufacturing equipment next to its distribution center in Nampa at 6338 Highway 20/26.

Each year from 2020 to 2025, Canyon County would not tax up to $17.5 million of Syngenta’s new property value.

According to Syngenta’s application for the property tax exemption, the new facility would employ one to two research scientists and three to seven research associates in 2018 and eight to 10 research associates in 2019.

Should Syngenta choose to expand in Nampa rather than another undisclosed location, it must meet the job creation and investment requirements set by Idaho Code in order to be eligible for the tax break.

An attorney representing the highway and fire protection districts told commissioners that Syngenta’s application didn’t provide enough detail to meet the requirements for a tax exemption. The attorney, William F. Gigray III, said the highway district would miss out on roughly $25,000 a year for five years in potential property tax revenue if Syngenta was not fully taxed on the proposed $35 million investment.

Gigray also said Syngenta’s application didn’t provide enough information to guarantee the project would bring sufficient economic benefit to citizens in Canyon County.

According to Idaho Code 63-602NN, county commissioners may grant a property tax exemption for a defined business project for up to five years. The business must meet such criteria as bringing significant economic benefits to the community; using the facility for commercial or industrial purposes, not for retail; and investing no less than $500,000 in the site.

Pat Charlton, the superintendent of Vallivue School District, also raised concerns about Syngenta’s qualification for that level of exemption under Canyon County code.

Dale said the purpose of granting such exemptions was to encourage businesses like Syngenta to bring jobs and investment to the community. If Syngenta failed to meet the job and investment requirements, the company would forfeit its tax break, Dale said.

Dale dismissed the highway and fire districts’ concerns over potential lost revenue, calling it a “win-win” situation for everyone because Syngenta would still be bringing more revenue to the county.

“We are not exempting any existing property, just the new construction,” Dale said.

Syngenta Crop Production is a global agribusiness based in Switzerland that produces agrochemicals and seeds. The U.S. base of Syngenta is Minnetonka, Minnesota, and Syngenta Seeds has Idaho locations in Nampa and Boise.

Nicole Foy is the night digital reporter. You can reach her 208-465-8107 and follow her on Twitter @nicoleMfoy

Nicole Foy covers Canyon County and Hispanic affairs. You can reach her at 208-465-8107 and follow her on Twitter @nicoleMfoy

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