Advocate editorial board opinion: Freeport tax exemption important economic development tool

By the Advocate Editorial Board
June 20, 2011 at 1:20 a.m.

Last week, the Victoria City Council unanimously approved the freeport tax exemption. This statewide exemption was opted out of by the city back in 1989.

The freeport tax is one levied on inventory that comes from outside the state and is transported out of the state within 175 days.

The freeport tax generates revenue. However, the newly approved exemption - although stopping the immediate revenue - is likely to generate more revenue because of new industry coming into the region, creating a new and larger tax base.

For example, Caterpillar Inc. is moving to Victoria and with it numerous businesses and vendors. With the exemption in place, even more businesses are likely to move here.

We support the city council in approving the freeport tax exemption because we think it will make our city more attractive to business.

What's more is convincing Victoria County and the Victoria school district to follow suit.

Dale Fowler, president of the Victoria Economic Development Corp., said 62 counties, 171 cities and 165 school districts have approved the exemption.

Fowler said among those are what's called "triple freeports," places where all three entities have approved the exemption and are spurring business-growth. He added that increasingly, businesses considering a move to Victoria look at freeport tax as a factor. Having a triple freeport would put Victoria and the area up toward the top of the list for businesses to consider.

We urge Victoria County and the Victoria school district to follow the city's lead and grant exemptions to the freeport tax to make the Crossroads a very attractive location for business and manufacturing.

"It would be a significant attractor to manufacturing-type businesses," Fowler said. "We want them to be here - all the industry that goes with Caterpillar."

We agree. Making Victoria and the region attractive to business is a must to continue the progress we've made in past years.

With new businesses moving to our area, we all will benefit economically. For that reason, we urge the county and school district to grant the exemption.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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