DFL Gov. Mark Dayton is defending the roughly $3 million in public subsidies that helped lure the company Shutterfly to expand in Minnesota.
Dayton attended a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday in Shakopee, Minn., where the California-based Internet photography firm is building a $60 million facility on a 22 acre site.
Shutterfly is getting local incentives that include city and county tax abatements for nine years. The state is providing loans and grants that top $1 million.
The project is expected to bring an estimated 329 jobs plus seasonal work to the region over the next two to five years, according to city documents.
Dayton told reporters that he believes the incentives kept Shutterfly from going to Wisconsin.
"When you talk about almost 400 permanent jobs and close to 1,000 jobs full- and part-time combined, that's going to return far more in terms of tax revenues and economic rippling effect than that amount of (subsidy)," he said. "So, I think it's money very well spent."
Dayton made a secret trip to California earlier this summer to meet with Shutterfly executives about their expansion plans. The project was announced shortly after that visit.
Dayton's visit helped solidify the decision, said Dwayne Black, Shutterfly's senior vice president of operations.
"Obviously Shakopee was well within the running at that point," he said. "I think that just helped move things along for us."