Monsanto will proceed with its plans in Pima County despite the fact that it failed to secure needed support for its needed Foreign Trade Zone Payment in Lieu of Taxes Agreement proposal.
“We are now dedicated, more than ever, to investing in this community, regardless of the Foreign Trade Zone Payment in Lieu of Taxes Agreement proposal,” the company said in a press release. “As discussions with Pima County have advanced, it is clear that further investments in workforce development are necessary for Monsanto and other businesses to grow successfully in the community. In order to make those investments possible, Monsanto is withdrawing the Foreign Trade Zone proposal and moving forward with several commitments to the area.”
Had Monsanto won support for its Foreign Trade Zone Payment in Lieu of Taxes Agreement proposal it would have resulted in a cut of its property taxes by two-thirds. The deal was structured as support for Monsanto’s application to the U.S. Commerce Department to expand a “foreign trade zone” with Mexico into Pima County.
Although Pima County administrator Chuck Huckelberry claimed that the proposal only needed the County’s support, it was the vote by the Pima Community College Board against the proposal that squashed it, according to sources.
The Monsanto deal was also opposed by local food activists and small farmers including Edible Baja magazine, the Pima County Food Alliance, and Heirloom Farmers’ Market among others.
According to an article by Albert Vetere Lannon of the Avra Valley Coalition, there are “concerns about Monsanto’s history of being fined tens of millions of dollars for accounting violations, failure to report release of toxic chemicals, and mislabeling GMO seeds.”