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Fate of Business Program for Blighted Communities Uncertain


As the Florida legislature nears the end of its 2015 session, the fate of a tax incentive program aimed at boosting business growth in blighted communities remains unclear.

There are 65 Enterprise Zones in Florida including local areas like Immokalee and Bradenton.

The program is set to expire at the end of the year.

Bradley Muckel, Immokalee’s Enterprise Zone coordinator, worries the end of the program will deter developers who are looking at the area.

He said businesses like Wal-Mart, Family Dollar and Subway are either in the permitting phase or constructing locations in Immokalee right now. Those businesses expect to take advantage of what the Enterprise Zone has to offer.

“That’s a sort of bait and switch if you will. We’ve been working with them on an incentive package to bring them to Immokalee that may never come to fruition now,” he said.

There are bills in the legislature affecting Enterprise Zones. But, State Sen. Jeff Clemens’, D-Lake Worth, bill extending the program has not moved since March.

Advocates are sending out letters to state legislators, asking them to either extend or replace the Enterprise Zones with a similar program.

Topher is a reporter at WGCU News.