Tax breaks for Facebook raise hard questions

Tarrant County taxpayers are spending $2.3 billion on a water pipeline from East Texas just for additional capacity in the event of a drought.

At the same time, state and local officials have granted Facebook more than $150 million in tax breaks to locate a water-intensive data center in Fort Worth, a dry spot in a very dry state.

Government officials tout the deal as a chance to attract more tech jobs to the region. But Facebook’s data center – the latest and biggest deal in the region – doesn’t do much of that.

So the question is: What do local officials think they’re getting in exchange for giving away so much?

“It is a magnet that shows that high-tech companies are welcome to the state of Texas,” Gov. Greg Abbott said at the groundbreaking last month.

But similar deals around the country have created few additional jobs beyond those needed to build and run a data center.

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