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Suburban Phoenix school board to vote on tax break for Apple site

PHOENIX -- Gilbert Public Schools' governing board will vote Monday night whether to approve a tax break for Apple, which plans to open a manufacturing firm in Mesa.

By all indications, the five-member board will vote for the tax-break, after delaying the decision by a week. The school board is involved in the matter because the building Apple is proposing to buy falls within its boundaries. Seven other government agencies have already signed on to the deal.

As of Friday, all the board members indicated they will vote in favor of the tax break, including the two who were originally opposed to the deal. Julie Smith and Daryl Colvin said they needed more time to decide.

"Clearly it's one of those issues of corporatist favoritism, where somebody gets a more favorable tax rate than many others do," Colvin said, "but it's such a huge economic benefit to the area, at least potentially, that I told them I would support it moving forward."

Smith echoed similar sentiments in a statement she released Friday.

"Since the delay in the vote, I have had the opportunity to obtain significantly more information and facts necessary to make an informed decision that is in the best interests of Gilbert Public Schools and all GPS taxpayers," the statement said, in part.

Board President Staci Burk also indicated she will vote in favor of the tax break. Members Lily Tram and Jill Humphreys have voiced strong support for approving the deal.

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