Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clearwater voters will decide whether businesses should get tax breaks

CLEARWATER — Voters will decide in November whether the city should give big tax breaks to new and growing businesses, the City Council voted Thursday night.

The city referendum question will appear on the general election ballot Nov. 6.

The proposed tax breaks would go to businesses that pledge to create at least 10 jobs and make $100,000 in property improvements. The businesses would be exempt from paying 75 percent of the taxes on those improvements every year for up to a decade.

The breaks would go to so-called target industries like manufacturing and health care, not retail superstores like Walmart.

The jobs the businesses created would need to pay more than $40,000 a year, Pinellas County's average salary.

A business paying $10 million for improvements like fixtures or equipment could save nearly $400,000 in taxes in the span of a decade under the program. Investing the minimum of $100,000 would save a business just under $4,000.

The tax incentives, officials said, could give the city an edge in luring new jobs. But they could also cut city property tax revenue, which has sunk 30 percent in five years.

A similar measure has passed in 20 Florida cities, including St. Petersburg and Tampa, where voters overwhelmingly approved the tax breaks last year.

However, Clearwater's program would be much more generous: There is no cap on the tax breaks, and they would last 10 years, compared with five years for the programs in Tampa and St. Petersburg.

Drew Harwell can be reached at (727) 445-4170 or dharwell@tampabay.com. Send letters to the editor at tampabay.com/letters.

Clearwater voters will decide whether businesses should get tax breaks 06/08/12 [Last modified: Friday, June 8, 2012 7:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Accused cardinal denies Australia sex abuse allegations, takes leave of absence

    World

    ROME — One of the most senior Vatican officials to be charged with sexual offenses denied on Thursday the allegations levied against him by Australian police, saying he would take a leave of absence as one of Pope Francis' chief advisers to defend himself.

    Cardinal George Pell meets the media at the Vatican on Thursday. The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney says Pell will return to Australia to fight sexual assault charges as soon as possible. [Associated Press]
  2. Tie vote blocks grant money for husband of Dade City mayor

    Local Government

    DADE CITY — Taking another shot at obtaining a Community Redevelopment Agency grant to improve his downtown building, the husband of Dade City Mayor Camille Hernandez was denied this week by a deadlocked board.

    Mayor Camille Hernandez recused herself but was asked to stay in the room.
  3. Lightning planning $6 million upgrade to practice facility

    Blogs

    Lightning owner Jeff Vinik will invest $6 million in upgrading the team's practice facility, the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon.

    The plan will create a brand new locker room and training facilities for the team, an 18,000 square foot addition.
  4. Deputies responding to car crash in Riverview find shooting victim inside

    Crime

    RIVERVIEW — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is investigating after deputies responding to a single-car crash late Wednesday discovered someone in the car had been shot, authorities said.

  5. Commentary: Ten years later, the iPhone owns us

    Science

    Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone in January, 2007, before an adoring congregation, in his signature "Sermon on the Mount" style. On June 29, it became available to the public. Ten years later, the phone has spread like Christianity. The device represents "the pinnacle product of all capitalism," as Brian Merchant …

    Apple is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the iPhone's release on June 29, 2007. [Associated Press]