The state of Florida, St. Lucie County, and our city partners all offer a variety of incentives to relocating and expanding companies. Determining which incentives and amounts of incentives that a company qualifies for is a complicated task and requires one-on-one counseling with EDC staff.
Information on all public incentives is provided, but the final decision of incentives to be granted rests with the authorities responsible for administering those incentives. The primary factor in determining values of incentives is the relative importance the incentives carry
in the location decision of a company. It is assumed that all other factors critical to the location decision such as workforce, buildings and sites, utilities, financing, market proximity, etc. have been evaluated and any incentive that might be awarded should be the final inducement that convinces the company to chose our state and county over a competitor’s location.
Note: State incentives are subject to change pending the outcome of the 2012 Florida Legislative Session. St. Lucie County ad valorem tax exemption expires end of year 2012 and will be on the November 2012 ballot for voter approval.
FLORIDA’S TARGETED INDUSTRY INCENTIVES
Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund (QTI)
The Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund incentive is available for companies that create high wage jobs in targeted high value-added industries. This incentive includes refunds on corporate income, sales, ad valorem, intangible personal property, insurance premium, and certain other taxes. Pre-approved applicants who create jobs in Florida receive tax refunds of $3,000 per net new Florida full-time equivalent job created; $6,000 in an Enterprise Zone or Rural Community (county). For businesses paying 150 percent of the average annual wage, add $1,000 per job; for businesses paying 200 percent of the average annual salary, add $2,000 per job; businesses falling within a designated high impact sector or increasing exports of its goods through a seaport or airport in the state by at least 10 percent in value or tonnage in each year of receiving a QTI refund, add $2,000 per job; projects locating in a designated Brownfield area (Brownfield Bonus) can add $2,500 per job. The local community where the company locates contributes 20 percent of the total tax refund. There is a cap of $5 million per single qualified applicant in all years, and no more than 25 percent of the total refund approved may be taken in any single fiscal year. New or expanding businesses in selected targeted industries or corporate headquarters are eligible.
Qualified Defense and Space Contractor Tax Refund (QDSC)Florida is committed to preserving and growing its high technology employment base by giving Florida defense, homeland security, and space business contractors a competitive edge in consolidating contracts or subcontracts, acquiring new contracts, or converting contracts to commercial production. Pre-approved applicants creating or retaining jobs in Florida may receive tax refunds of $3,000 per net new Florida full-time equivalent job created or retained; $6,000 in an Enterprise Zone or rural county. For businesses paying 150 percent of the average annual wage, add $1,000 per job; for businesses paying 200 percent of the average annual salary, add $2,000 per job.
Capital Investment Tax Credit (CITC)
The Capital Investment Tax Credit is used to attract and grow capital-intensive industries in Florida. It is an annual credit, provided for up to twenty years, against the corporate income tax. Eligible projects are those in designated high-impact portions of the following sectors: clean energy, biomedical technology, financial services, information technology, silicon technology, transportation equipment manufacturing, or be a corporate headquarters facility. Projects must also create a minimum of 100 jobs and invest at least $25 million in eligible capital costs. Eligible capital costs include all expenses incurred in the acquisition, construction, installation, and equipping of a project from the beginning of construction to the commencement of operations. The level of investment and the project’s Florida corporate income tax liability for the 20 years following commencement of operations determines the amount of the annual credit.
High Impact Performance Incentive Grant (HIPI)
The High Impact Performance Incentive is a negotiated grant used to attract and grow major high impact facilities in Florida. Grants are provided to pre-approved applicants in certain high-impact sectors designated by the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development (OTTED). In order to participate in the program, the project must: operate within designated high-impact portions of the following sectors– clean energy, corporate headquarters, financial services, life sciences, semiconductors, and transportation equipment manufacturing; create at least 50 new full-time equivalent jobs (if a R&D facility, create at least 25 new full-time equivalent jobs) in Florida in a three-year period; and make a cumulative investment in the state of at least $50 million (if a R&D facility, make a cumulative investment of at least $25 million) in a three-year period. Once recommended by Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) and approved by OTTED, the high impact business is awarded 50 percent of the eligible grant upon commencement of operations and the balance of the awarded grant once full employment and capital investment goals are met.
WORKFORCE TRAINING INCENTIVES
Quick Response Training Program (QRT)
Quick Response Training (QRT) – an employer-driven training program designed to assist new value-added businesses and provide existing Florida businesses the necessary training for expansion. A state educational facility – community college, area technical center, school district or university – is available to assist with application and program development or delivery. The educational facility will also serve as fiscal agent for the project. The company may use in-house training, outside vendor training programs or the local educational entity to provide training. Reimbursable training expenses include: instructors’/trainers’ wages, curriculum development, and textbooks/manuals. This program is customized, flexible, and responsive to individual company needs.
Incumbent Worker Training Program (IWT)
Incumbent Worker Training (IWT) – a program that provides training to currently employed workers to keep Florida’s workforce competitive in a global economy and to retain existing businesses. The program is available to all Florida businesses that have been in operation for at least one year prior to application and require skills upgrade training for existing employees. Priority is given to businesses in targeted industries, Enterprise Zones, HUB Zones, Inner City Distressed areas, Rural Counties and areas, and Brownfield areas. For additional information on the IWT program, visit Career Source Florida.
Economic Development Transportation Fund
The Economic Development Transportation Fund, commonly referred to as the “Road Fund,” is an incentive tool designed to alleviate transportation problems that adversely impact a specific company’s location or expansion decision. The award amount is based on the number of new and retained jobs and the eligible transportation project costs, up to $3 million. The award is made to the local government on behalf of a specific business for public transportation improvements.
SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY INCENTIVES:
Enterprise Zone Incentives
Florida offers an assortment of tax incentives to businesses that choose to create employment within an enterprise zone, which is a specific geographic area targeted for economic revitalization. These include a sales and use tax credit, tax refund for business machinery and equipment used in an enterprise zone, sales tax refund for building materials used in an Enterprise Zone, and a sales tax exemption for electrical energy used in an enterprise zone.
In the northern section of St. Lucie County, the City of Ft. Pierce has established an Enterprise Zone. See Map A to view the Enterprise Zone location within Ft. Pierce.
Florida offers incentives to businesses that locate in Brownfield sites, which are underutilized industrial or commercial sites due to actual or perceived environmental contamination. The Brownfield Redevelopment Bonus Refund is available to encourage Brownfield redevelopment and job creation. Approved applicants receive additional tax refunds of up to $2,500 for each job created as well as additional incentive opportunities.
Currently, there are 2 Brownfield sites located in the northern section of St. Lucie County. The Brownfield site situated within unincorporated St. Lucie County consists of 56 acres and the site within the City of Ft. Pierce makes up a total of 15.3 acres. See Map A to view the location of both Brownfield sites.
Foreign Trade Zone #218 – Central Florida Foreign Trade Zone
Foreign Trade Zones are industrial parks or specialized warehouses that are secure. These zones are considered to be outside of U.S. Customs Territory and offer unique savings opportunities to businesses. A few of the savings include: duty exemption on re-exports, duty elimination on scrap/waste, duty deferral, and relief from inverted tariffs.
St. Lucie County’s Foreign Trade Zone is located in 4 areas (listed below) of the county consisting of a total of 1,588 acres (see Map B).
- St. Lucie County International Airport: 1,063 Acres
- Crossroads Park of Commerce: 15 Acres
- Kings Highway Industrial Park: 102 Acres
- St. Lucie West Commerce Park: 408 Acres
Rural Incentives: Florida encourages growth throughout the state by offering increased incentive awards and lower wage qualification thresholds in its rural counties. Additionally, a Rural Community Development Revolving Loan Fund and Rural Infrastructure Fund exist to meet the special needs that businesses encounter in rural counties.
Urban Incentives: Florida offers increased incentive awards and lower wage qualification thresholds for businesses locating in many urban core/inner city areas that are experiencing conditions affecting the economic viability of the community and hampering the self-sufficiency of the residents.
Jobs for the Unemployed Tax Credit Program (JUTC)
The Jobs for the Unemployed Tax Credit Program provides incentives to businesses throughout Florida to hire qualified employees who were previously unemployed. The program is available to all businesses that are identified as a “target industry”. The business may receive a tax credit of $1,000 for every employee hired as of July 1, 2010. The business may claim only new hires that were previously unemployed for a minimum of 30 days, and that remain employed after a 12-month period at an average of 36 hours per week. This program will run until June 30, 2012 with a limit of $10 million available for tax credits.
Local Government Distressed Area Matching Grant Program (LDMG)
The Local Government Distressed Area Matching Grant Program stimulates investment in Florida’s economy by assisting Local Governments in attracting and retaining targeted businesses. Applications are accepted from local governments/municipalities that plan on offering financial assistance to a specific business in the area. These targeted businesses are required to create at least 15 full-time jobs and the project must either be new to Florida; expanding operations in Florida; or leaving Florida unless it receives local and state government assistance. The amount awarded by the State of Florida will equal $50,000 or 50% of the local government’s assistance amount, whichever is less, and be provided following the commitment and payment of that assistance.
Manufacturing and Spaceport Investment Incentive Program (MSII)
The Manufacturing and Spaceport Investment Incentive Program encourages capital investment and job creation in manufacturing and spaceport activities in Florida. Applications are accepted by eligible businesses from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2012. A tax refund up to $50,000 will be given on the State Sales and Use Tax paid for eligible equipment purchases. Purchase cost must exceed a business’ total expenditures on eligible equipment purchased and placed into service in this state during the 2008 tax year.
ST. LUCIE COUNTY – As one of the fastest growing areas in the nation, St. Lucie County continues to attract and retain a quality workforce. The Board of County Commissioners is committed to creating a business friendly-environment and assist through its economic development incentives program. Such incentives are available to business activities that are identified on the County’s adopted Targeted Industry List and include: Job Growth Investment Grant, Ad Valorem Tax Exemption, expedited site plan review and fast track permitting, impact fee mitigation and application fee waivers.
Job Growth Investment Grant – St. Lucie County offers this job creating grant for existing and new businesses. The Board of County Commissioners may grant awards in the range of $1,500 to $3,000 per new job with a minimum of 10 new jobs created. A salary requirement of 107% of the County’s current hourly wage must also be met.
Ad Valorem Tax Exemption – The County offers an Ad Valorem Tax Exemption for existing or new business expansions that create new jobs. This exemption is applied to improvements that a business makes to its property such as a new building or equipment purchased in connection with relocating or expanding. The exemption can be granted for up to 10 years. The length of the exemption is based upon the number of jobs created, the wage rate and the amount of capital investment. A new business must create at least 10 manufacturing jobs or 25 jobs if non-manufacturing and have a sales force of at least 50% outside of Florida.
Expedited Site Plan Review and Fast Track Permitting – Expedited site plan review and fast track permitting is available through the Planning & Development Services Department for proposed new businesses that will create long term jobs within the County. Retail and residential development are not eligible for this process.
Impact Fee Mitigation – Mitigation of County imposed impact fees are also available for targeted industries. This includes reduced and waived fees based upon the number of jobs created, average wage and the amount of the capital investment.
CITY OF FORT PIERCE incentives are available to new or expanding businesses, identified on the City’s targeted industry list that will create long term jobs within the City, include Ad Valorem Tax exemption, expedited site plan review and fast track permitting. Retail and residential development are not eligible for this process.
Indian River State College (IRSC)
On-Site Customized Training – IRSC works one on one with businesses to develop, implement and customize on-site training programs tailored to fit the specific needs of businesses and their employees; including screening/pre-training; literacy in the workplace; technical training specialists; computer training specialties and manufacturing technologies training.
CareerSource Resource Coast
CareerSource Research Coast is a private, non-profit, Florida corporation with a Board of Directors consisting of private business, economic development and education representatives, community and state agencies, and elected officials. Members of the Board represent the diversity of businesses, organizations and trades that operate in the Treasure Coast Region, including St. Lucie County. Career Source Research Coast is chartered by the State of Florida to create and manage a workforce development service delivery system responsive to the needs of businesses and jobseekers. They have a staff comprised of certified workforce professionals and offer award-winning programs and partnerships recognized locally, statewide and nationally.