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Tampa Mayor: Give Tax Relief To New, Growing Biz

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is proposing an Economic Development Ad Valorem Tax Exemption Program for new businesses locating in Tampa and existing businesses that are expanding their operations.

According to the mayor's office, the program is expected to create and retain jobs and works like this: Qualifying new businesses may claim an exemption of 75 percent of the value of any improvements to its property and tangible personal property. Expanding businesses would be eligible for the exemption based on added improvements and increased tangible property. Exemptions would be provided on a three-tier system for five to 10 years based on the number and types of jobs created, average annual wages and location of the business. To qualify for the program, a business must meet the definition of a "high-value business" that has a significant economic impact or as a "target Industry." Once the program is adopted, state statute requires that City Council must approve each application for the exemptions by ordinance.

Mark Huey, the Tampa's economic development administrator, explains that a "high-value business" is defined as one that is expected to have a significant economic impact as a result of the number of its full-time employees, its wages, the capital investment in the business or additional jobs created. A "target Industry business" is defined pursuant to Section 288.106, Florida Statutes.

"Some examples include but are not limited to: manufacturing facilities; financial and insurance services; corporate headquarters; information industries; professional, scientific and technical services; wholesale and distribution; and administrative and support services," says Huey.

The Tampa City Council must approve and adopt the program as an ordinance. The discussion is expected to take place at its next meeting on April 21 with a second public hearing for final approval.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Mark Huey, City of Tampa
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