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Senate to vote on tax breaks for Fortune 500 company that stayed under radar

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The Minnesota Senate will vote Monday on a package of grants and tax breaks for a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company that until recently was little-known in Minnesota.

The Associated Press reports the Dayton administration reached a deal with Baxter Healthcare Group in February to keep the company's name out of the headlines while the state aid was being negotiated. The result could be nearly 200 new high-paying jobs arriving in Brooklyn Park in return for tax breaks, loans, and grants valued at $15 million.

While state aid for big employers is not unusual, the Baxter deal stands out for its speed, as well as its off-the-radar negotiations.

A spokesman for the Department of Employment and Economic Development tells the AP such agreements are "a part of doing business" nowadays, as companies seek assurances they can discuss opportunities without revealing proprietary information. A Baxter spokeswoman says the company wanted confidentiality while it negotiated the now-completed purchase of a building in Brooklyn Park.

Even when the package of state aid reached the halls of the Capitol Gov. Dayton was reluctant to identify the recipient, which was known only as "a mystery company" in early reporting on the deal.

A sales tax exemption for Baxter's purchase of construction materials was included in the House tax bill passed last week.

Baxter makes devices and other treatments for medical conditions including hemophilia and kidney disease.

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