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Hillsborough approves incentives for Johnson & Johnson expansion

TAMPA — Hillsborough County commissioners Wednesday unanimously approved a $2.1 million incentive package for Johnson & Johnson, a Fortune 500 company that is considering investing in a "shared services headquarters operation" in the county.

The health care giant ranks ranked 11th on Fortune's 2015 list of the world's most admired companies.

The firm said it is considering investing is up to $23.5 million project in Hillsborough that would bring up to 700 jobs averaging $75,000 in salary. The deal will depend on a state incentive package of $7 million by Enterprise Florida, the state's job recruiting agency.

The proposed Johnson & Johnson deal comes on the heels of a similarly impressive plan by Citigroup to bring as many as 1,163 more jobs — which also average $75,000 — to its Sabal Park operations in the county. County commissioners signed off on an incentive package for Citigroup earlier this month.

Johnson & Johnson would be joining another high profile health care recruitment that arrived early last year. Pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb opened its "North American Capability Center" near Tampa International Airport in January 2014 after considering 50 competing metro areas. At the time, economic development officials said that landing the first "big-name" company in a sophisticated industry would make it easier to win another.

Johnson & Johnson is also looking at several other states for the expansion.

"Top companies go to top regions," said Commissioner Sandy Murman. "And our region is becoming quite the place to go to. I think the 'open for business' sign is out there."