Ng Han Guan / AP

Apple announced last week to much fanfare that it would build a new data center in the small Iowa town of Waukee, but the L.A. Times' Matthew Hiltzik estimates that, given the $208 million in tax abatements Iowa is granting Apple, the state is spending $4.1 million per permanent job created by the data center.

Modern data centers like the planned Waukee facility may take a lot of labor to construct, but once they're up and running, it will only take a few dozen employees to run it, and that means even if Apple comes through with a donation of "up to $100 million" for Waukee's infrastructure fund, the town will "still be deeply in the red," Hiltzik writes.

Why it matters: Big-name tech firms are particularly well situated to negotiate favorable tax deals with state governments, given the desire for politicians to appear to be attracting high tech jobs. Many states have come under fire for being overly generous with tax breaks in their attempts to lure businesses with tax abatements, with Foxconn's planned Wisconsin plant being another recent example.

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