Cities seek tax abatement for businesses

Local News

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Leaders in Lynn Haven and Panama City are hoping that voters will continue to allow them to offer a tax incentive for new businesses.

“We want more employment in the city. We want more businesses to come to the city. We want every possible tool in our toolbox to attract and to also keep businesses,” said Greg Brudnicki, the mayor of Panama City.

More formally known as tax abatement, the rule allows city leaders to make a deal with prospective business owners. In exchange for starting a new business in the city and hiring a certain number of workers, business owners will get a tax break for a set number of years.

The size of the tax break, the number of workers, and the length of the deal is negotiated with each new business.

“What I have seen over the years is really that if a business doesn’t have to spend that money on taxes, they really take that money and invest it back into their business. although there is not a requirement for them to do that,” said Ben Janke, the Lynn Haven Economic Development Director.

City leaders are trying to woo businesses back to the area in the wake of Hurricane Michael. They said the tax abatement will be a benefit to businesses, residents and city government.

“It gets more people into the city,” Brudnicki said. “They’re spending more money in the city. They’re spending more merchant fees in the city which we make indirectly. So yeah, it’s a win-win and, you know what, a rising tide floats all boats.”

The tax abatement is on the ballot in Lynn Haven and Panama City. Early voting starts Monday and election day is April 20.

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