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Office Depot gets incentives to create jobs, sales center in Texas

Office Depot Inc.Rick Perry

Office Depot, already under fire from Palm Beach County for outsourcing finance jobs to Guatemala and India, is receiving economic incentives to create more than 200 new jobs in Austin, according to an announcement by Texas Gov. Rick Perry's Office on Friday.

Boca Raton-based office supply retailer is creating an inside sales organization in Austin to serve small-business customers, according to the press release. Texas is investing $300,000 through the Texas Enterprise Fund in Office Depot for the creation of the new center in Austin.

"We evaluated several major markets across the U.S. including the option of locating the Inside Sales organization at our corporate headquarters in Boca Raton," said Brian Levine, spokesman for Office Depot. "A key advantage for Austin was its central location, which permits inside sales representatives to contact customers across all time zones with minimum need for flexible work schedules or shifts."

Since the recession officially ended, Texas has gained the most jobs of any state while Florida's unemployment continues as one of the highest, with sporadic job growth.

Office Depot chief executive Neil Austrian's recent decision to outsource 80 finance jobs that were located in Boca Raton miffed Palm Beach County commissioner Burt Aaronson and raised concerns about the county's incentive agreement with the retailer.

In mid-July, Office Depot said it expects to meet its incentives requirement with Palm Beach County. The retailer agreed in 2009 to retain at least 1,750 employees and create 200 jobs by August 2014 in accepting multimillion-dollar incentives from the county and the state.

So far, Office Depot has received $952,822 in incentives, according to Palm Beach County.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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