by Kathleen Pender
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has lured 1,200 Charles Schwab jobs to El Paso and Austin with nearly $6 million in cash grants from a state investment fund.
The Texas Enterprise Fund is providing $1.45 million for a new Schwab facility in El Paso, which will create 445 jobs and $21.5 million in capital investment over the next 10 years, the governor said in a press release.
“We have purchased an existing office building there,” says Schwab spokeswoman Sarah Bulgatz. “It will be a new operations center for us. We’re currently hiring people for operations positions there.”
In Austin, the fund will provide $4.5 million, contingent upon the completion of a local incentive package from Travis County, to create 823 jobs and $210 million in capital investment over the next decade. Schwab has operated in Austin for 20 years and has about 1,000 employees there in a variety of departments.
Bulgatz could not say how many of the new jobs will move to Texas from San Francisco, but said San Francisco will remain the brokerage firm’s headquarters.
Schwab has about 2,000 employees in San Francisco but said earlier this year it plans to move a significant number of them to other locations over the next three to five years. It has about 3,400 people in Phoenix, 2,000 in Denver and 1,000 in Orlando, with other large employment centers in Indianapolis, Chicago and Richfield, Ohio.
The enterprise fund was created by the Texas Legislature in 2003 to lure business to the state. It says the fund is “used only as a final incentive tool where a single Texas site is competing with another viable out-of-state option.” The fund, which has spent a total of almost $560 million, is sometimes criticized as corporate welfare.
“We are very pleased to be expanding our footprint in Texas,” Joseph Martinetto, Schwab’s chief financial officer, said in the press release.
Todd Rufo, director of San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, noted that the city has added 67,000 jobs since 2010 and is the second-fastest-growing large county in the United States based on private-sector employment. But the Schwab news “underscores that we as a city cannot take our economic success for granted. Companies every day are making decisions about where they want to grow jobs, and that’s why Mayor Lee remains focused on attracting, retaining and growing jobs in the city,” Rufo said.