Make the move on tech zones

Published 8:54 pm Thursday, September 10, 2009

While it may be true that success breeds success, the Suffolk Economic Development Authority isn’t taking any chances.

The organization could have taken a look at the situation in North Suffolk’s technology corridor and decided that all the right things had been done to promote the growth of the technology sector in Suffolk, choosing to let things just run their course in the Harbourview area.

Instead, members of the authority — which is charged with, among other things, making recommendations to the City Council of ways to attract new businesses to the city and to help existing ones prosper — decided this week to sweeten the pot for technology-related companies that choose to locate in the area around Harbourview.


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Under the proposal, which now faces City Council scrutiny, qualifying companies that build or expand there could earn rebates on their business licenses and personal property taxes. The tax breaks are, perhaps, not enough of an incentive to entice previously uninterested companies to the area, but they could be a deciding factor for a company whose leaders are undecided between Suffolk and another location.

Even better, a second zone has been suggested covering the greater downtown area, where an infusion of capital from tech-related companies could fill empty storefronts and attract better cable and Internet service to the area.

The proposal came after months of research by city staff members into the effectiveness of technology zones and after extensive tweaking of the plan. Now that it has a solid, workable proposal in hand, the City Council should act quickly to put it into effect so Suffolk will be ready with incentives when the economic climate changes and begins spinning off business starts, expansions and relocations.