Feb. 07--CHEYENNE -- The Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board approved a $13 million grant Thursday to help a company that makes magazines and other gun accessories move to Cheyenne.
The board voted 4-1 in favor of the grant to help recruit Magpul Industries, a company based in Erie, Colo. SLIB is made up of the top five elected officials in Wyoming.
The Wyoming Business Council earlier recommended the state board approve the incentive package.
Magpul will have between 80 and 90 employees in Cheyenne, said Jon Anderson, a lawyer for the company.
The company is expected to be in temporary quarters in Cheyenne as early as this summer. The business will remain there while a new building is built.
The state and local investment in the relocation effort will reach about $17 million over 20 years. The return to the public is estimated at about $20 million.
Magpul has agreed to provide at least $6.1 million through a revenue recapture plan to the Wyoming Business Council for other economic development projects.
"This is a tremendous business investment for the state," said Bob Jensen, chief executive officer of the Wyoming Business Council.
Magpul brings a manufacturing component to the state that it does not have in abundance, Jensen said.
It also has brought a lot of interest to Wyoming, even global interest, he said. This gives other companies a chance to see the strength of doing business in Wyoming, he added.
Laramie County Commissioner Troy Thompson told the State Loan and Investment Board that the commission supports Magpul coming to Cheyenne.
Secretary of State Max Maxfield said the company would provide economic diversity for the state.
Gov. Matt Mead also supported Magpul.
"At the end of the day, this is about manufacturing. That is what grows our economy," he said.
But Rep. Allen Jaggi, R-Lyman, questioned the level of incentives. He told the board he was concerned about giving money to Magpul without a guarantee that money will come back.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill voted against the grant.
Contacted after the meeting, she said Magpul Industries is a great thing for Cheyenne and Laramie County. But she wondered how many other businesses would love to get such a grant.
She said she didn't want to give one business advantage over another with state money.
"The Wyoming Business Council is a system of welfare for the politically well-connected," she said.
Magpul makes magazines and other gun accessories. Company leaders vowed to leave Colorado if its state Legislature passed strict gun control measures.
Colorado lawmakers approved the stricter gun measures, and Magpul leaders went ahead with the plan to move. The company chose Cheyenne after a national search.
Magpul will move its manufacturing, shipping and distribution operations to Cheyenne. Its headquarters will be relocated from Colorado to an as-yet undisclosed city in Texas.
The Wyoming grant that provides for up to $13 million will come from the Governor's Business Ready Community Large Business Infrastructure Fund. Because of that, the governor still must make the final decision.
The financing plan for the grant has changed based on a recommendation from the state Attorney General's Office. Attorney General Peter Michael said the fund only allows for grants and not loans because of a footnote in the 2012 budget.
Cheyenne LEADS n the private economic development arm of Laramie County n will spend $1.5 million to improve the temporary building for Magpul at 220 Evelyn St. in west Cheyenne.
Cheyenne LEADS will construct a new 108,000-square-foot building for Magpul on 14 acres of land LEADS owns at the Cheyenne Business Parkway in east Cheyenne. The land is valued at close to $2.2 million.
(c)2014 Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (Cheyenne, Wyo.)
Visit Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (Cheyenne, Wyo.) at www.wyomingnews.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services