Micron wants tax breaks for '$160b' Texas chip fab plant

If it ever gets built, that is

US memory vendor Micron is seeking tax incentives to build a new semiconductor fab outside Austin, Texas, according to documents filed with the state.

The filing comes just weeks after Micron announced it would spend $40 billion over the next decade to expand its DRAM and NAND flash memory manufacturing capacity in the US.

Texas may be home to at least one of these facilities, according to an application [PDF] filed with the Texas comptroller’s office earlier this month. The application describes a large semiconductor manufacturing facility to be built approximately 30 miles south of Austin in the city of Lockhart, which has a population of just under 15,000 residents.

Bloomberg reports the fab will be built in eight phases and could cost as much as $160 billion. If true, the foundry would cost roughly 10 times that of other fabs in the region. Samsung, for example, expects to spend roughly $17 billion to bring its Taylor, Texas, fab online. Meanwhile, Intel now expects to spend closer to $15 billion on each of its two Arizona fabs.

Micron didn’t answer questions regarding the project cost of the facility, and instead offering the following statement:

“Texas’s Chapter 313 program sunsets in December 2022. Filing these applications some time ago allows us to preserve options for potential future expansion needed to meet long-term memory demand. We have not made any final decisions regarding the location, timing, or scope of any expansion plans.”

Chapter 313 refers to a section of the Texas state tax code which incentivizes property investments in exchange for tax breaks over a period of 10 years.

“There are several factors that contribute to Texas’s favorability for development, one however that does not is the state’s notoriously-high property tax burden,” Micron’s application reads.

If Micron is unable to obtain such a cap, the chipmaker says it will likely pursue other locations with more favorable incentives. The application cites Singapore, Taiwan, or Japan as potential alternatives.

Micron isn’t the only chipmaker looking to capitalize on Chapter 313 either. South Korean foundry operator Samsung Electronics recently filed a flurry of applications with the Texas comptroller’s office seeking tax breaks on as many as 11 fabs valued at nearly $200 billion.

However, neither Samsung nor Micron have committed to pursuing these projects. And even if they do, it’s unclear when construction would begin. ®

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