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Front Page » Top Stories » Commission Oks County Incentives To Attract Firms

Commission Oks County Incentives To Attract Firms

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Written by on July 27, 2000

By Candice Ventra
Miami-Dade County commissioners Tuesday created an incentive program to make Miami more competitive in attracting and retaining businesses.

Frank Nero, president & CEO of the Beacon Council — the county’s economic development arm — lobbied the commission to approve the creation of the new type of incentive system for businesses that create jobs.

Called the Targeted Jobs Incentive Fund program, or TJIF, it is modeled after the State of Florida’s Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund program, which gives tax breaks to companies that create a certain number of jobs in an area, Mr. Nero said.

The Targeted Jobs fund, he said, could provide cash incentives to firms that relocate here or expand.

"Palm Beach and Broward counties currently utilize locally funded incentive programs," Mr. Nero said. "This is a new initiative for Miami-Dade County."

He said the idea for the new fund came partly as a result of requests from commissioners Dennis Moss and Jimmy Morales and County Manager Merrett Stierheim.

To get the incentives, a business relocating to the county must create at least 10 jobs in three years, he said. At least five jobs must be created in three years for companies expanding in the county.

The fund would give a company $500 for each job created, Mr. Nero said. That, he said, is doubled if a company is in a designated enterprise or empowerment zone, targeted urban neighborhood, brownfield or community development area.

He said a $250 bonus will be given to the company for each employee that is a WAGES participant. If a new job meets or exceeds 150% of the average annual wage of the state, which is $34,452, the business would get an additional $250 per job.

The TJIF will not be used to attract businesses out of Broward or Palm Beach counties, Mr. Nero said.

Commissioner Gwen Margolis said she was concerned that the proposal did not address the verification of jobs prior to dispersing funds.

Mr. Nero said new jobs would be verified through payroll records. He told commissioners incentives would be awarded only if a company were making an improvement that benefits the county.

Commissioner Dorrin Rolle also expressed concerns about how the county would benefit.

"Is there cost to the county?" Mr. Rolle asked. "I understand you are creating jobs. But are we going to maintain these jobs?"

Mr. Nero said if the jobs are not maintained the reward would be reduced or eliminated.

"We like this incentive because it’s rewarded only after the job is created," he said.

Mr. Morales wanted to know if Broward and Palm Beach counties agreed not to use their local incentive funds to lure businesses away from Miami-Dade.

Mr. Nero said Palm Beach officials have a formal agreement with the county and Broward officials are expected to make a similar deal. He said the new program can be used, however, to reward Broward and Palm Beach-based companies that choose to expand into Miami-Dade.

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