Council Looks at Economic Incentives Plan
Rivedal, Karen, The Florida Times Union
With several questions and some mixed feelings, City Council
members yesterday took a detailed look at a new proposal that
would change how Jacksonville hands out its economic incentives.
And the cautious response it received at the afternoon workshop
could be a predictor of how the measure will fare in committee
hearings next week. That's when the new proposal banning
incentives in the city's congested southeast side, plus making
other changes, will be up for its first vote.
"It will help us grow in a way we need to grow," said Tom
Petway, chairman of the Jacksonville Economic Development
Commission, which developed and already has approved the policy.
"We need to be competitive with everybody else out there in the
But council members, who long have called for such a policy,
did not seem inclined to accept it on good intentions alone.
While praising the policy's creation, some questioned its
Councilman Howard Dale, for example, asked Petway exactly what
the city's budget for incentives was and why they weren't
focused only on businesses that produce high-paying jobs. Dale
also wondered how Petway could be sure that some techniques,
such as tax-increment financing, really were a net positive for
"I cannot accept that on faith," Dale said.
Petway said the city's deal makers can structure a
tax-increment arrangement to avoid losses, since those
incentives are awarded only after a business creates the jobs or
makes the other investments it has promised. …