Framingham will hold a Special Town Meeting on Tuesday, May 22 to vote on a tax break agreement for locally-headquartered TJX, which the town's selectmen drafted earlier this month.
The tax incentives come during growing worries that TJX corporate headquarters would relocate to Marlborough after officials there granted tax relief to the company, where TJX is buying two office buildings for about $72 million.
Marlborough had agreed to forgive the company’s taxes on a $30 million expansion over 30 years, a deal worth millions of dollars for the company over that time period.
The deal also comes as Framingham residents are still left smoldering after an 11 percent residential property tax hike, in large part due to a decrease in commercial property values.
The Framingham agreement calls for TJX to maintain 1,600 permanent jobs and create 225 new jobs over the next several years, and to invest $143 million for on-site expansion, renovations to the existing buildings, and acquisition costs.
In exchange for these commitments, Framingham would forgive taxes on the $143 million expansion over 20 years.
According to the exemption schedule drafted by the town, TJX would receive a property tax exemption of 75 percent for 2013, slowly working up to an exemption of 90 percent for 2017 through 2019, and then slowly working the exemption rate down to 5 percent by 2032.
The agreement also would require the company to acquire 225 new permanent, full-time employees by 2017, starting with 25 new positions in 2013 and another 75 in 2014.
By 2017, there would be 1,825 permanent full-time employees at the Framingham office, according to the agreement.
If the company fails to hire the required number of new employees, the town would reduce the exemption percentage based on a preset formula taking into account the total of new employees added and that year's scheduled tax exemption percentage.
During renovations, new employees would work at TJX-leased space at 500 Old Connecticut Path in Framingham, the agreement states.
TJX President Ernie Herrman said in a prepared statement earlier this month that his company has a long, rich history with Framingham, which he would like to see continue for many years to come.
"We believe this suggested tax structure would benefit both the town and our company and are optimistic that Framingham will remain the home of our world headquarters," Herrman said in the statement.
Valerie Mulvey, Framingham’s interim town manager, said in the jointly-released statement that the town has been discussing the 20-year agreement with TJX senior management since last October.
She said the agreement is great for Framingham for many reasons, including significant on-site investment dollars, keeping and creating new permanent jobs, maintaining current tax revenue of $1.8 million for the property, and income for local businesses where TJX employees spend money.
She also said she was happy to keep the prestigious corporate headquarters in Framingham, and that it provides significant local philanthropic support.
"We look forward to bringing this agreement to Town Meeting for their approval," Mulvey said.
TJX, which operates chains such as HomeGoods, T.J. Maxx, and Marshalls, is among the state’s largest companies, with 11,000 employees in Massachusetts.
If the agreement is approved by Town Meeting, it will then be forwarded to the Massachusetts Economic Assistance Coordinating Council during their next regularly-scheduled board meeting on June 26.
The Special Town Meeting will take place Tuesday, May 22 at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall.
Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org