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Ernst & Young To Bring 450 Jobs To Jacksonville Over 4 Years

Ryan Benk

Financial services company Ernst & Young is planning to hire more than 400 people in Jacksonville with an average salary of $49,000.

Mayor Lenny Curry announced Thursday the company is opening a service center in the city with the help of city and state tax incentives.

But the deal was close to unraveling.

Curry says missteps in the previous administration left the Ernst & Young deal hanging by a thread.

“I guess, just to be direct, it was kind of dying on the vine, wasn't it? It looked like it wasn't going to happen,” Curry says.

Shortly after he took office, Curry says, he took charge of negotiations and brought Ernst & Young back to the table. He pitched Jacksonville as a growing city with a burgeoning financial services industry. Ultimately the company agreed to a hefty helping of economic incentives.

“It was about 80 percent from the state and 20 percent from the city on the incentives. It was about a $5 million deal,” he says.

At the same time, state lawmakers are battling over Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed $250 million to lure more companies to the Sunshine State. So far the Legislature has agreed only to $8 million.

Curry agrees with Scott that state incentives are great.

“It’s a great return for the city of Jacksonville, the taxpayers of the city of Jacksonville,” he says.

Ernst & Young hasn't settled on an exact location for its Jacksonville operation.