Tampa residents to vote on business tax exemption program
When Tampa residents vote on March 1, choosing a new mayor isn’t the only thing they must decide.
Voters will choose whether or not to give tax exemptions to new businesses and reward those who expand in the city.
“A lot of communities around the state, around the country are struggling for job creation,” said Mark Huey, Tampa economic development administrator. “This gives us a new tool to compete to help create and win jobs for our community.”
It’s something the city has never done before. If voters approve, it would give new businesses or expanding businesses an ad valorem tax exemption.
Just how much would depend on the size of the business. If it passes, Florida law would allow the businesses to use the exemption up to 10 years.
Karen Brown co-owns Kaleidoscope, an eclectic home furnishings and accessory business that just opened in Seminole Heights.
Brown wouldn’t qualify at this point, but feels the exemption would attract fellow business owners.
“You know, you have a limited budget when you first start out, so any penny you can scrounge together needs to go actually into the business, not to taxing,” Brown said.
The city says the exemption wouldn’t increase taxes for others or take away from public school funding.
Hillsborough County voters recently passed the same exemptions for businesses in the unincorporated areas. Exemptions like this already exist in more than half of Florida’s 67 counties.