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1/10/02 - Miami News Today

Miami considers 100% tax breaks on new construction

By Paola Iuspa

The City of Miami may offer 100% property tax exemptions to qualified developers and entrepreneurs who bring new construction or growth to downtown and under-developed areas.

Incentives could be in effect for 10 years and would apply to new commercial buildings or the expansion of existing structures in Allapattah, Wynwood, Edison, Overtown, East Little Havana, Little Haiti, along the Miami River and in parts of downtown. The city would continue to collect property taxes on the land and any infrastructure previously in place, Miami City Commissioner Johnny Winton said. Proposed breaks would only apply to the annual municipal millage on a tax bill, now $8.995 per $1,000 of taxable property value, said Arleen Weintraub, director of real estate & economic development for the city.

The commission is expected to discuss the plan today (1/10.) Commissioners Winton and Joe Sanchez said Tuesday they support the incentives.

Between existing county tax exemptions and what's proposed, a company relocating in Miami could save about $15 per $1,000 of assessed value, said Tyrone Hoskins, supervisor with the property appraiser's office.

The proposal stems from a November referendum voters OK'd that called for the city to promote economic development.

George Knox, a lawyer involved in Miami-Dade County's economic development, said Miami should offer other programs such as workforce development to train people for entry-level employment.

"Tax breaks and other incentives reduce the cost of development and relocation for companies, which in turn increases the money available for salaries," he said. "When incomes are good, people can afford to buy affordable housing.