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North Carolina House OKs tax break to attract Apple

Members of the House approve bill that would amend the state's tax laws, providing big incentives reportedly designed to lure Apple.

Lawmakers in North Carolina on Wednesday voted in favor of proposed changes to the state's tax laws, clearing the way for large investments from companies like Apple.

The House passed the bill 80-34, according to a report by the Charlotte Observer. While it was a healthy majority, some lawmakers protested vehemently about being forced to offer huge tax incentives to big businesses.

The bill, modified by the House, is set to go back to the state Senate on Thursday for a vote.

As reported on Tuesday, North Carolina is hoping to lure Apple by offering the company $46 million in tax breaks. In return, Apple would invest $1 billion to build a server farm in one of the state's poorest areas--Catawba and Cleveland counties are said to be potential sites for investment.

The Associated Press reported that House Minority Leader Rep. Paul Stam (R-Wake) was particularly upset with the proposed incentives. "They're playing us," Stam said. "And they're going to keep playing us as long as you agree to be played. They'll either come or they won't come, but whether they come I can virtually assure you it will not depend upon whether you pass this bill."

This isn't the first time North Carolina has offered tax breaks to large companies. In 2007, Google signed a deal worth $600 million to open a server farm in the state for a promised $260 million worth of incentives over 30 years.