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EDC Funding Pro Tax Abatement Campaign


BRADENTON -- Driving through Manatee County, you've undoubtedly seen ads urging "Vote Yes for New Jobs Now!" regarding the upcoming June 18 special election in which voters will decide via referendum whether to authorize the use of property tax abatements as a business incentive. The funding for the campaign has come almost exclusively from the Bradenton Economic Development Corporation, a public/private partnership that would use the incentives in their efforts to lure businesses to the county.

According to campaign finance reports, the Bradenton Area EDC has made four donations totaling $75,000 to the Committee for New Jobs Now, which is funding the campaign. The EDC's contributions make up nearly all of the PAC's $78,375 thus far reported. 
Proponents, including the EDC's President and CEO Sharon Hillstrom who has been publicly promoting the referendum, say that it is a necessary tool to lure businesses to Manatee County. Critics contend that Manatee County already has lucrative incentives for businesses to locate and expand here, and that the current ones, which are paid retroactively, offer more accountability to the taxpayer. 
The EDC derives most of its funding from its public partners -- the cities of Bradenton and Palmetto, the Town of Longboat Key, Port Manatee, Suncoast Workforce and Manatee County Government -- as well as private investors.

Do Tax Abatement Incentives Live Up to the Promises?

Published Sunday, June 2, 2013 12:10 am


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