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Manchester looks to expand economic tax credit 'zone'

New Hampshire Union Leader

May 26. 2014 11:13PM

MANCHESTER — City officials are hoping to make the area of East Industrial Park Drive an official Economic Revitalization Zone, a designation that could qualify existing businesses as well as newcomers for state tax credits.

Will Craig, director of economic development for the city, said the area just east of Interstate 93 and south of Candia Road already meets some criteria for the state ERZ program.

“It encourages economic development in the zones,” Craig said. “It just makes some sense to expand these to that area.”

New and expanding businesses in designated ERZ areas can apply for credits against New Hampshire’s business profits tax and/or business enterprise tax. Because the credit is offered at the state level, it does not affect local property taxes.

Mayor Ted Gatsas said the incentive program has been around since 2007, when he was still serving in the New Hampshire Senate.

“It’s certainly a great thing for businesses,” Gatsas said. “I’m not sure that a lot of businesses are partaking in it and I really don’t know why.”Existing ERZs in Manchester include downtown and the area around Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.

Craig said he presented the proposal for East Industrial Park Drive last week to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s special committee on job creation, retention and economic development. He said the next step is to bring it before the full board next month, then submit the application to the state Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED) for approval.

“We are still working on the application, but we hope to cast as wide a net as DRED will allow,” Craig said.

Craig said the boundaries of the zone would need to be approved by DRED, but the area meets at least one description in the qualifications for an ERZ. As the street name implies, East Industrial Park Drive is the main artery in a commercial zone that is home to a wide range of businesses — with room for more.“This is a tool that helps me recruit business in the city and helps DRED recruit for the state as well,” Craig said.

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