The Commerce Journal

Opinion

June 6, 2013

Promoting local growth

COMMERCE — “How do you get Commerce to grow and prosper?” seems to be a question that has been asked for as long as I’ve been living in the area.

In 1994, city leaders thought they had the answer as 113 citizens voted for the creation of the Commerce Economic Development Corporation.  The EDC is a non-profit corporation that uses local sale tax revenue to “promote economic development through recruitment of new industry and expansion & retention of existing industry.”

This is known as a 4A EDC. What I propose to you today is that Commerce Economic Development Corporation needs to become a 4B EDC.

What’s the difference?

From the Texas Comptroller’s website:

 Type A EDCs — Developing Industries

Type B EDCs — Developing Industries & Cultivating Communities

So while 4A EDCs (Commerce) can only seek to develop industries, Type B can both develop industries and cultivate the community.  Yes, you read it right.  Type B can do what a 4A can, and much more.

You may also ask what is meant by Cultivate the Community.  Cultivate the Community is another way of saying Quality of Life Improvements.

The Comptroller’s website explains it further:

The Type B sales tax may be used for any project eligible under Type A rules and several other project types, including quality of life improvements.

Type B corporations may pay for land, buildings, equipment, facilities, targeted infrastructure and improvements for:

• professional and amateur sports and athletic facilities, tourism and entertainment facilities, convention facilities and public parks;

• related store, restaurant, concession, parking and transportation facilities;

• related street, water and sewer facilities; and

• affordable housing.

To promote and develop new and expanded business enterprises that create or retain primary jobs, a Type B EDC may fund:

• public safety facilities;

• recycling facilities;

• streets, roads, drainage and related improvements;

• demolition of existing structures;

• general municipally owned improvements; and

• maintenance and operating costs associated with projects.

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