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Letter to the editor: Proposed tax abatement changes need approval

Friday, February 22, 2013 - 12:01 am

Tax abatements are one of the essential economic development tools government has to attract and retain business in our area. As with anything, there comes a time when the process needs to be reviewed and updated.

As president of the Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, I am encouraged by the collaboration between city and county officials in the acknowledgement of the need and the course they have taken to update their tax abatement policies. By aligning the city’s and county’s policies, it will make it easier for business to be aware of the requirements needed to obtain a tax abatement and more transparent for the community.

This was not a singular or hasty endeavor. The Joint City-County Tax Abatement Committee engaged community stakeholders in the review process including the Chamber and the Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance, our premier economic development organization. Stakeholders were asked to review the proposed changes and provide feedback.

The proposed changes provide for a new level of accountability by creating a new compliance process without being arduous for business or government staff and resources. It will allow the city and county councils to have a better idea of how many jobs and types of jobs have been created or retained.

The new policies put a greater emphasis on projects that create and retain good jobs with higher-than-average wages. This is important as our region’s average wage is below the national level.

The proposed changes will continue to build and strengthen our community. I, on behalf of my members, encourage our local officials to approve these changes and allow business to continue to invest in our community.

Michael S. Landram, president/CEO Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce