Rep. Vargas Says State Also Claws Back Nearly $1.75 Million from Former Brooks Brothers Suit Maker

Mayor James J. Fiorentini; City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua and then-City Councilor X. Andy Vargas toured Haverhill’s Southwick manufacturing in November 2016. (WHAV News file photograph.)

A day after the City of Haverhill said it recovered $462,000 in property tax breaks it gave a manufacturer of Brooks Brothers suits, Rep. Andy X. Vargas said Thursday the state also clawed back its incentives.

Altogether, Vargas said, nearly $1.75 million dollars in tax breaks previously awarded to the former Southwick Clothing factory has been returned to taxpayers. He explained the breaks were in exchange for Southwick’s promises to create 70 new jobs between 2016 and 2018 and retain 468 jobs as part of the agreement.

“This is a victory for taxpayers and sends a strong signal to corporations that Massachusetts is a more than willing partner for economic development and job growth, but we also won’t let our taxpayers get taken advantage of,” he said. Vargas said he is grateful to Attorney General Maura Healey, Secretary Michael Kennealy and their teams for pursuing the recovery. He also thanked thousands of Massachusetts residents who signed a petition and voiced support for the outcome.”

Besides Haverhill’s property tax breaks, Southwick was granted $2.1 million in tax breaks by the state Economic Assistance Coordinating Council.

Last year, Southwick abruptly declared bankruptcy and closed its Haverhill factory, laying off 413 employees.

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