Economic Development

Vermont Awards $2.4M Tax Incentives for 37 Local Economic Development Projects

The State of Vermont has allocated $2.4 million in tax incentives for 37 local economic development projects that are investing a total of nearly $78 million on downtown and village center construction and rehabilitation.

Vermont

Photo – vermont.gov

Gov. Peter Shumlin said these incentives are proven to jumpstart transformation in communities and have business, jobs and housing to downtowns and village centers across Vermont.

 “And when we put people to work revitalizing our communities, we not only support local economic development – we’re building a better and stronger Vermont for the next generation,” added Gov. Shumlin.

For example, the old High School in Brandon, VT has been vacant for more than 25 years. It is now being rehabilitated into a housing complex with nine market rate apartments located within walking distance of the Town’s central business district.

This $2,500,000 project in Brandon, which is getting $125,000 in tax credits, will not only create jobs and rental housing, but also boost the local tax base.

Another project getting tax credits is the rehabilitation and redevelopment of the Berkshire Bank building in Manchester, VT. This building, a prominent historic anchor for the village corridor, has been lying vacant for years.

The $1,579,810 project, which is getting $112,500 in tax credits, aims to convert the Berkshire Bank building into a mixed-use development with housing above the retail space at the street level. The community is expecting to project economic growth outwards from the commercial core with the help of this project.

The Vermont House, a historic property in downtown Wilmington, VT, had been welcoming guests as a tavern and inn since 1864. However, it has been vacant for the last three years. This $950,000 rehabilitation project, which is getting $78,235 in tax credits, will provide tourist accommodations with 13 guest rooms within walking distance of Wilmington’s shops and restaurants.

The State also announced a sales tax reallocation for the City of Burlington to support infrastructure projects related to the construction of a new Hilton Garden Hotel. It is part of an ongoing development linking Burlington’s waterfront to other parts of the city. This $34 million project, which is getting a sales tax reallocation of $327,783, is expected to create 130 jobs.

Almost 150 community centers that are designated downtowns and villages in Vermont receive priority consideration for state grants and access to tax incentives.

Here’s the full list (pdf) of these latest projects that have been awarded tax incentives.

Intel Corp Reaches $100B Investment Agreement for Hillsboro, Oregon Operations

Intel Corporation, the City of Hillsboro and Washington County in Oregon announced that they have reached a proposed agreement under which Intel will invest up to $100 billion in the county.

Ronler Acres Intel site in Hillsboro, OR

Ronler Acres Intel site in Hillsboro, OR (photo – M.O. Stevens/Wikimedia)

The announcement was made after months of negotiations resulted in an agreement under Oregon’s public-private Strategic Investment Program (SIP).

Intel’s investment is focused on the need to replace machinery and equipment that becomes obsolete every few years as the technology advances, and on retaining the company’s 17,500 employees working in Washington County.

Under the proposed agreement, Intel would be required to make payments separately as required under state law and additional fees negotiated locally. Intel’s statutorily required payments would add up to $122 million in taxes and fees over the agreement period, with additional fees working out to another $228 million. The exact amount will vary depending on how much Intel invests and when.

This is the fifth SIP agreement Intel has agreed to since the program was authorized by the Oregon Legislature in 1993. The first two agreements in 1994 allowed Intel to invest up to $3.4 billion, followed by another agreement in 1999 for $12.5 billion, and a 2005 agreement for up to $25 billion.

These agreements produce partial property tax savings for Intel’s massive investments in machinery and equipment, while securing their jobs in the county over the long-term.

Since the program’s inception, SIP agreements have generated $30 billion in investments in Washington County and created 18,000 jobs.

According to a study by consulting firm ECONorthwest, Intel’s economic impact (as of 2012) was pegged at $26.7 billion. Intel is the single largest private-sector employer in Oregon with an annual payroll of $2.8 billion. Furthermore, every Intel job creates another three jobs in the state. This ripple effect has created 68,000 jobs, which is about four percent of the state’s workforce.

The 2014 SIP agreement (pdf file) allows for a proposed $100 billion investment that will be divided into multiple 15-year investment packages that may occur over a 30-year period.

In order to reach this agreement with Intel, the Governor’s Office and Oregon economic development agency Business Oregon collaborated with the City of Hillsboro and Washington County.

“This historic investment makes our state a global leader in high tech manufacturing and is proof positive that Oregon is fertile soil for business to grow and families to prosper,” said Governor John Kitzhaber.

Neil Tunmore, Intel vice president and director of corporate services, said that in an increasingly competitive global business environment, they are pleased that the City of Hillsboro, Washington County and the State of Oregon continue to provide the right place for Intel to invest.

Washington County Commissioner Roy Rogers represented the County Board in the negotiations with Intel. Commissioner Rogers said that by continuing the success of past agreements, they are gaining important resources for supporting public services, and will be able to retain thousands of jobs in Oregon at a critical point in the economic recovery.

Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey said their position as a global center for high-tech manufacturing jobs is strengthened by Intel’s decision to increase its investment in Hillsboro.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pump $55M Into NY State Economy

Long before it became an on-screen hit, the latest installment of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a big hit all over New York State.

Tupper Lake Mayor Paul Maroun at advance TMNT screening

Tupper Lake Mayor Paul Maroun at advance TMNT screening (photo – NY State Film Office)

The benefits of Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies’ production of TMNT were felt all over New York during the 70 days of filming.

According to the MPAA, the production spent more than $55 million on local goods and services, salaries and state taxes. Salaries for NY labor alone added up to $30 million, and the production paid $3.2 million in taxes to the state.

They put 1,500 New York residents to work for more than 12,000 man-days. The filming was spread over the state’s diverse geography, from the skyscrapers in downtown Manhattan to the climatic action sequences in the Adirondacks.
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New Mexico FundIt Federal-State Partnership Offers One-Stop Funding for Community Projects

New Mexico has launched a program called FundIt that brings together state and federal agencies with local officials in order to help communities in the state get complete funding for their projects.

Gov. Martinez announcing NM FundIt program

Gov. Martinez announcing NM FundIt program (photo – NMEDD)

This one-stop funding program provides a centralized location to obtain financing from start to completion for projects that will help with their job creation efforts and assist small business development.

Communities undertaking infrastructure projects will be able to vet their project in front of multiple state and federal infrastructure funding agencies simultaneously.

The federal and state agencies that are participating in the FundIt program will work together to analyze and compare proposals such as downtown revitalization, industrial parks, business incubators, housing projects and infrastructure development.

Federal agencies including the SBA, USDA and HUD will coordinate funding for FundIt projects with the New Mexico Departments of Transportation, Environment, Finance and Administration, the Mortgage Finance Authority and the NM Finance Authority.

Projects will also be submitted by the Council of Governments (COGs), the NM MainStreet program and regional representatives of the NM Economic Development Department.

The plan to create this one-stop funding group came from the New Mexico Rural Economic Development Council, which was restored to assist smaller communities in the state improve their economic development efforts.

This FundIt program is one of the components of New Mexico’s plan for “Rural Renaissance” and has been included as a part of the state’s five-year economic development strategic plan.

Announcing the program, Governor Susana Martinez said that it is important, especially for New Mexico’s rural communities, to be able to identify funding for projects that will help grow jobs and improve the quality of life for residents.

The Governor said they want to help by making the process more effective by bringing all the players in one place instead of making communities go to each agency separately for piecemeal financial support.

New Mexico Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Jon Barela said the FundIt initiative will save communities and small businesses time, helping them focus on creating jobs instead of navigating a maze of government agencies.

Indiana Hires Tech Policy Expert to Lead Nanotechnology Economic Development

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation has hired semiconductor industry technology policy specialist Ian Steff to serve as a senior advisor in the fields of nanotechnology and advanced manufacturing.

Ian Steff, senior advisor, nanotechnology and advanced manufacturing, IEDC

Ian Steff, senior advisor, Nanotechnology and Advanced Manufacturing, IEDC

Steff is coming to Indiana and the IEDC straight from his previous position in Washington, DC as vice president, Global Policy and Technology Partnerships, for the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).

The SIA is the U.S. semiconductor industry’s lead trade association. Steff worked closely with SIA’s Public Policy Committee, and assisted the SIA in the development of global strategies and coordination of Washington-based initiatives.

His portfolio also included university research partnerships and worldwide technology policy, and he was the SIA’s primary liaison to the World Semiconductor Council (WSC).

Before taking up this position at the SIA, Steff was manager for government affairs at Dewey and LeBoeuf LLP, where he handled the SIA’s policy advocacy issues. Steff also has experience working for Congress as a senior staff assistant for the House Ways and Means Committee.

Steff has a B.A. in International Studies from American University, and an M.A. in International Science and Technology Policy from George Washington University.

He also serves on the boards of many technology, semiconductor and microelectronics organizations and associations, including as Chair of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Information Technology Office (USITO).

As a senior advisor at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Steff will now be spearheading strategies for further developing the state’s existing nanotechnology industry and related advanced manufacturing initiatives.

Global sales of products built using nanotechnology components are estimated to reach $2.4 trillion by 2015. Indiana Secretary of Commerce Victor Smith said that nanotechnology is quickly becoming a major field internationally, and Indiana is positioned at the forefront of technological innovation.

Smith added that companies throughout the state are already making impressive use of nanotechnology, and the universities are leading advancements in this discipline.

Several Indiana companies such as Kokomo Semiconductors and Eli Lilly already use nanotechnology, and universities including Indiana University, Purdue and Notre Dame are leading internationally-recognized nanotechnology developments. Ivy Tech Community College has a nanotechnology program which trains students to work as technicians in this sector.

Steff said that Indiana with its 21st century workforce, attractive investment climate and competitive research infrastructure has positioned itself to succeed in this sector.

“I look forward to expanding existing partnerships and supporting new ones that will yield jobs and research opportunities statewide,” said Steff.

Pennsylvania Approves $14M Funding for BFTP Tech-based Economic Development

Pennsylvania’s Ben Franklin Technology Partners program is getting $14 million in funding for providing technology-based economic development support for entrepreneurs and job creation.

Ben Franklin Technology Partners

Ben Franklin Technology Partners (photo – benfranklin.org)

The funding, approved by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority (BFTDA), will be used by the four BFTP centers to provide operational assistance, entrepreneurial support and investment capital to emerging technology-based companies and existing small manufacturers who are creating and retaining jobs in Pennsylvania.

Ben Franklin Technology Partners (BFTP), an initiative of the BFTDA and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), is one of the longest-running and most successful technology-based economic development programs.

The program was won awards for excellence in tech-based economic development from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) as well as the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA).

BFTP has been supporting early-stage and established companies for more than 30 years since its inception in 1983, and provides a 3.5-to-1 return on investment for every state dollar invested.

A study of the economic impact of BFTP in Pennsylvania from 2007-2011 was released last year, and showed that BFTP boosted the Pennsylvania economy by $6.6 billion during this period. A total of $502 million in additional state tax receipts were generated through BFTP investments in client firms and related BFTP client services.

For this period from 2007-2011 covering the recession and high unemployment rates nationwide, the BFTPs helped client companies add 7,485 additional jobs. Client revenues, investments and purchasing helped create another 12,715 indirect and induced jobs across Pennsylvania, adding up to a total of 20,200 jobs that would not have been created in the absence of the BFTP program.

In 2013, the four BFTP centers helped client companies create a total of 1,365 jobs, retain another 951 jobs, and secure more than $468 million in additional financing for their projects.

Also in 2013, 98 new companies were formed, 118 patents and software copyrights awarded, and 318 new products and processes launched by the client companies, who reported generating a total of $412 million in sales revenues.

Governor Tom Corbett said the results of their investment in these four outstanding partners are impactful and the effect on Pennsylvania’s economy is transformational.

“Throughout Pennsylvania there are thousands of men and women working at family-sustaining jobs because of the Ben Franklin Program,” said Gov. Corbett.

Wisconsin’s $1M Economic Development Program for Commercializing High-Tech Innovation

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has launched a $1 million program to support commercialization of high-tech innovation by entrepreneurs and early-stage startups.

SBIR Advance

SBIR Advance (photo – uwex.edu)

The SBIR Advance program is administered by the Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC) at the University of Wisconsin-Extension.

“This is a tool that will help young, innovative companies with the assistance they need to bring their products from conception to market,” said Governor Scott Walker.

Funding from this program will assist startups and small businesses in Wisconsin that are recipients of federal grants under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

The SBIR and STTR programs, which provide $2 billion in federal research funding each year, were created to stimulate high-tech innovation.

As the SBIR Advance administrator, CTC can provide an SBIR/STTR Phase 1 federal grant recipient a matching grant of up to $75,000, and Phase 2 recipients with a matching grant of up to $250,000.

The SBIR Advance program is being launched by the WEDC as a component of the Start-Seed-Scale (S3) initiative, which is aimed at removing barriers to high-tech commercialization. This is a public-private partnership effort involving the WEDC, business leaders throughout the state, and the UW system.

As a part of the S3 initiative, WEDC and its economic development partners are implementing operational and financial assistance programs that are specifically designed to address seed-funding and other business startup challenges in Wisconsin.

Ideadvance, a seed fund that is one of the other initiatives under S3, is also managed by CTC and is a collaborative effort involving the UW System and WEDC.

The SBIR Advance program has been linked with Ideadvance, so that participants seeking funding from SBIR Advance will be joining Ideadvance cohorts to receive Lean Startup training.

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Secretary and CEO Reed Hall noted that SBIR Advance will provide funding upon participants completing key milestones, such as the Lean Startup training, which significantly accelerate business development.

CTC is accepting online pre-submission applications until Aug 8 from those who would like to participate in the the SBIR Advance program and join the September Lean Startup training cohort. Those who miss this deadline can apply afterwards for the next cohort.

CTC also offers no-cost evaluations and other resources to assist startups seeking federal funding under the SBIR/STTR programs.

Puerto Rico Economic Development Secretary Outlines Growth Plan

Puerto Rico Department of Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Alberto Bacó Bagué outlined the Puerto Rico government’s plan for driving economic growth, which he said focuses on increasing employment by offering international companies competitive advantages to operate and hire in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico economic development plan

Puerto Rico economic development plan

During his closing address at the American Latino National Summit in San Antonio, Sec. Bacó said that Puerto Rico is in the midst of transitioning to a regional service and high-tech industrial hub.

The Secretary laid out a vision for an economy that encourages financial, insurance, IT and tourism market expansion to build on the strong biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

Over half of all the major pharmaceutical companies have operations in Puerto Rico. Also, the biotechnology sector in Puerto Rico is the third largest in the world and includes 13 of the 16 medical device companies.

The government’s strategy for job growth is based on attracting relocations and investments by international companies looking to enter the U.S. and Latin American markets, to build on Puerto Rico’s successful recruitment of investments by major companies like HP, Amgen and Microsoft.

The Secretary added that Puerto Rico as a region is reinventing itself and offers enormous opportunities not just for Puerto Ricans, but also for mainland U.S. investors. Puerto Rico’s economic development incentives, he said, are designed to generate investment and jobs.

The Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company (PRIDCO) is the lead organization that managed Puerto Rico’s transition from an economy dependent on agriculture into a manufacturing powerhouse.

There are more than 1,300 companies operating under the PRIDCO program, and the tax incentives program accounts for 400,000 jobs. The government’s Economic Development Bank is additionally promoting local entrepreneurship by supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Sec. Bacó also stressed on how Puerto Rico offers an opportunity for strengthening ties not just with the mainland U.S., but also with South and Central America.

“We are a bilingual, bicultural bridge between North and South America, with first-class transportation infrastructure, an educated workforce and all of the legal protections of a U.S. jurisdiction,” said Sec. Bacó.

In closing, the Secretary said this was an exciting time for the Latino community, with the new economy breaking down barriers between the North and South and creating opportunities for those who understand both worlds.

The five-year plan developed by the Puerto Rico Economic Development Department is focused on achieving a diversified, knowledge-based economy. As per the plan, they are targeting creation of more than 130,000 jobs by 2018, along with $10-12 billion in incremental GDP.

National Trust Pitches Federal Historic Tax Credit as Economic Development Tool

The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s campaign to preserve the federal historic tax credit (HTC) is gaining steam as more people sign on to their petition, and Congress considers legislation that would save the credit from being eliminated in a comprehensive tax reform proposal.

National Trust petition to save the federal historic tax credit

National Trust petition to save the federal historic tax credit

They’re pitching it as a tool that brings jobs, economic development and pride to communities nationwide.

The U.S. Treasury has handed out $21 billion through the HTC since the program’s inception more than 30 years ago, and the results are quite clear.

Projects receiving this tax credit have leveraged $109 billion in private investment; created 2.41 million jobs; generated $26.6 billion in federal taxes; and preserved nearly 40,000 historic buildings.

This means the program more than pays for itself. Furthermore, these rehabilitations are essentially “green” projects that recycle properties, which in turn slows down the encroachment of new developments into existing green and open spaces and farmland.

Not to mention the fact that the saved historic buildings give character to communities, which attracts residents, businesses and tourists.

The Prosperity Through Preservation campaign to save the HTC is led by the National Trust and the Historic Tax Credit Coalition.

The campaign recently released a study that shows how the HTC is a catalyst for change and is transforming communities. The study, commissioned by the National Trust and prepared by Place Economics, highlights the catalytic role of historic preservation projects in six cities in three states.

For example, after two key rehabilitation projects were completed in Salt Lake City’s Depot District, the market value of properties in the area rose by 22.5 percent, while at the same time property values citywide dropped by more than 17 percent.

In Montgomery County, MD, more than two dozen historic buildings that were in government hands were rehabilitated, and now provide $60 million in new property taxes.

The campaign to save the HTC is also trying to get the Creating American Prosperity through Preservation (CAPP) Act passed. This bill would not only save the HTC, but also enhance the program’s ability to revitalize small Main Street projects and enable energy-efficiency projects.

The petition to save the HTC can be found here. Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh is one of those who recently signed the petition.

“This historic tax credit is hugely significant to Boston because of the investment and economic development it encourages,” said Mayor Walsh.

Greater Rhode Island Economic Development Website Wins NEDA Best Website Award

The Greater Rhode Island Economic Development Website has been named as the best website in the Northeastern Economic Development Association’s 2014 Literature and Promotions Awards.

Greater RI economic development partnership

Greater RI economic development partnership (photo – greaterri.com)

This new “Greater Rhode Island: Think Bigger” website is a public-private partnership effort involving Commerce RI, the Economic Development Foundation of Rhode Island, and the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce.

NEDA Executive Director Jim Keib said that the Greater RI website stood out in the challenging process of selecting their 2014 award winners.

Keib said the site is a public-private collaboration that harnesses many of the best insights and tools in the industry for promoting an economic development plan and attracting business interest and positive attention for Rhode Island.

The site provides a one-stop shop for the critical information site selectors and business executives need as they consider locations in the Northeast for growing their business. The website highlights existing growth companies and industries that are taking advantage of Rhode Island’s unique competitive advantages.

“This comprehensive website provides the data and information to help businesses looking to expand in the Northeast make an informed decision and consider Rhode Island,” said Commerce RI Executive Director Marcel A. Valois.

The Greater RI Think Bigger website was also one of only two submittals across all award categories that earned the NEDA President’s Award for the most outstanding submission to be received and reviewed. The other one was the success stories ad campaign by the Greater Reading Economic Partnership.

The City of Warwick, RI won the NEDA social and mobile award, while the best economic development newsletter award went to Operation Oswego County, the economic development organization for Oswego County, NY. Oswego’s manufacturing ad also won the best single print ad award, and their Services and Program Brochure won the overall award in the medium/small community category.

The Bronx, NY Economic Resource Guide was named as the best community profile/annual report, and New Hampshire’s Granite Ridge Marketplace won the award for best literature.

CT State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) won the NEDA Program of the Year Award for their Advanced Manufacturing Centers Initiative.

The awards will be presented at the annual NEDA Build Northeast Conference (Sept 7-9, 2014) in Worcester, MA.

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