The Dallas County Commissioners Court has approved $68,000 in annual tax breaks for NIKE as the company is planning a large distribution facility in Wilmer.
The court had twice delayed voting on the tax break proposal over concerns regarding a “lack of diversity” within the athletic firm.
The proposal was for a 50% tax exemption for the facility over 10 years, amounting to more than $68,000 per year.
Following a Tuesday presentation from NIKE representatives on the company’s “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,” every member of the court voted in favor of the proposal, save Commissioner Elba Garcia.
Garcia abstained from voting and explained that she believes NIKE has “a really long way to go when it comes to diversity and inclusion.”
It is expected to employ between 500 and 600 people, with an average pay expected to be about $37,000 — which is about $7,000 more than most salaries in the inland port, according to the commissioners court briefing.
“I hope you can do a lot better than that,” said Garcia at Tuesday’s meeting of the commissioners court. “Especially in today’s economic environment, $37,000 doesn’t cut it for me.”
Responding to prior criticisms of NIKE’s lack of diversity, as previously covered by The Dallas Express, Dr. Robert Shorty, global director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, assured the commissioners that the company is “building a diverse and inclusive team.”
According to a report shared by Dr. Shorty, 60.1% of NIKE’s employees are racial and ethnic minorities. NIKE’s entire U.S. employee base consists of 24.3% who are black or African American, 18.7% who are Hispanic/Latino, and 39.9% who are white.
Furthermore, 50.4% of its corporate employees are women, while 34.3% are racial and ethnic minorities — both figures have increased since the 2020 fiscal year.
“We are not satisfied with these numbers, but we are encouraged that we are headed in the right direction,” he said. “That’s super important when we talk about the work that is happening at the Wilmer facility today.”
Despite having a workforce comprised of mostly minorities, the court criticized NIKE for not having diverse enough representation on its board of directors.
Craig Owens, human resource manager, assured the court that NIKE has “made a commitment” to the Dallas community. He noted that NIKE started hosting events at the Dallas Senior Center, partnered with Oak Cliff Boys & Girls Club, and provided school supplies to Wilmer-Hutchins.
“We will continue in our efforts to support our community,” he said.
While Garcia abstained from the final vote, she added that she looks forward to working with NIKE and seeing the results of this project.
“I really hope that you all make a difference in Wilmer-Hutchins because we really need it,” she said.