EDITORIAL: Giving local companies a reason to stay

Meriden is considering a tax abatement proposal to give certain local manufacturers, planning to expand, an incentive to stay local.

As originally presented in September to the City Council’s Economic Development, Housing and Zoning Committee, the proposal targets a specific sector — any manufacturing company that operates two facilities in the city and seeks to open a third facility, also in the city, would be eligible for a real estate tax abatement toward the new location. 

According to the proposal, the abatement would have an eight-year term and would be based on a 25% real estate assessment of the property being considered.

The City Council has since reviewed the plan and made suggestions to broaden the criteria regarding what businesses and properties would be eligible for the deal.

Consequently, the proposal was amended to allow tax abatements for the owners of one or more existing manufacturing facilities who seek to expand in the city.

The abatement, if approved, would apply to any new location the manufacturer acquires. 

Councilor Michael Rohde, who chairs the EDHZ Committee, told the council the proposal would encourage large manufacturing companies to continue to build in Meriden, as opposed to another community. 

“It’s to support long standing businesses that want to stay here and grow,” Rohde said.

The proposal has gone back to the EDHZ committee for fine-tuning and further review, including whether the proposal is compatible with the city’s Plan of Conservation and Development. 

Many municipalities offer tax abatements programs to entice out of town or out of state businesses to relocate. Offering similar incentives to local enterprises to stay and expand makes sense and seems only fair. The council’s move to open the incentive to more businesses and additional sites improves on the original proposal. 

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