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Monroe’s Economic Development Director Dwight Vines agrees national rankings help create a good image for the state and may result in a business looking more closely at sites here. He noted, however, that while the tax incentives themselves may not be the reason a business sets up shop here or expands its presence, it’s one important factor that can help tip the scale if the company is looking at multiple sites that each offer a favorable workforce.
“Incentives don’t make up for the workforce for the company, or a location that doesn’t work for the product.” Foreman said.
Foreman said north Louisiana does well in winning a decent share of projects.
“The marketing moment is really in our favor as a state and as a region. We have set the table to have a dinner party. We’re the second best in the country in terms of state and local tax burden,” Foreman said.
At the local level, Vines said about 150 new businesses opened in Monroe in 2011, of which most were retail, professional offices, health care facilities/offices and restaurants. The city of Monroe has helped business with rebates through its Economic Development Funds, and by participating in the Enterprise Zone Program.
Through this program, eligible companies can receive a one-time $2,500 tax credit for each new job created and a sales tax rebate on capital expenditures.
It’s important to offer a good business climate to not only draw new business, but to tempt existing ones to stay or expand, Foreman noted.
Vantage Health Plan, which has had offices in Monroe for 18 years, recently expanded its corporate offices.
Michael Echols, director of business development for Vantage’s subsidiary, Affinity Health Group, said the company has tax credits for the refurbishing of historic buildings in downtown Monroe to expand its corporate offices. For instance, the state’s restoration tax abatement program awards five-year 100 percent abatement for the rehabilitation of an existing structure based on assessed valuation of property prior to beginning improvements.
Article source: http://www.thenewsstar.com/article/20120309/NEWS01/203090346
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