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US (MO): New tax incentive turns beneficial for commercial CEA growers

Nodaway County Economic Development (NCED) Director Josh McKim led a September 12 public hearing for the Nodaway County Enhanced Enterprise Zone (EEZ) in the county's Administration Center.

The public hearing saw representatives from nine of the 33 taxing districts that are a part of the EEZ. Those taxing entities include townships, fire districts, cities, and public schools. This EEZ does not include the city of Maryville or around Mozingo Lake Recreation Park and the northwest corner of the county that has the Northwest Nodaway EEZ. To be an EEZ, the district needs to be blighted in some form, so Maryville and Mozingo would not qualify.

The EEZ tax abatement incentive began in 2012 as a statewide program but was soon made a local initiative for governance. It was originally created to attract wind farms. Presently, Clear Creek and White Cloud wind turbine enterprises are receiving this incentive.

The reason for the public hearing was to notify and listen to the representatives concerning the proposed addendum to the current ordinance. The proposed addendum will establish a minimum of 50 percent property tax abatement of improvements to the real property; however, this will not include land or personal property. The term of the abatement is 10 years.

For a business to qualify, it must employ at least two new, full-time equivalent people and reach the minimal capital investment of $100,000 as required by the state of Missouri. There are 18 qualifying NAICS codes or business types in the ordinance that would address solar farms, commercial greenhouses, or hydroponic growing operations, which have shown interest in operations in the county's EEZ recently.

If the business invests more and hires more employees, it could qualify for up to a 70 percent tax abatement for 10 years as an incentive.

It's important to note that the specific impact on hydroponic growing operations will depend on the individual circumstances of each business and how well they meet the eligibility criteria and utilize the tax incentives provided within the EEZ. Additionally, local government officials and economic development agencies may provide additional support and resources to businesses looking to take advantage of these incentives, further enhancing their impact on hydroponic growers in the area.

Asking ChatGPT for help, the new tax incentive proposed for hydroponic growing operations within the Nodaway County Enhanced Enterprise Zone (EEZ) can have several implications:

  1. Financial Benefits: Hydroponic growing operations that meet the eligibility criteria, including employing at least two new full-time equivalent employees and making a minimum capital investment of $100,000, may qualify for a property tax abatement of up to 50 percent on improvements to real property within the EEZ for a period of 10 years. If these businesses invest more and hire more employees, they could potentially qualify for a higher tax abatement, up to 70 percent, over the same 10-year period. This financial incentive can significantly reduce the operational costs for hydroponic growers, making their businesses more financially viable.

  2. Attracting Investment: The tax incentive can make Nodaway County more attractive to hydroponic growing operations looking to expand or establish themselves. It provides a competitive advantage and can encourage businesses in this sector to choose Nodaway County over other locations, potentially leading to increased investment and job creation.

  3. Promoting Sustainable Agriculture: Hydroponic growing is often considered a more environmentally friendly and resource-efficient method of agriculture compared to traditional soil-based farming. By offering tax incentives to hydroponic growers, Nodaway County may encourage the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices, which can have positive environmental impacts.

  4. Economic Growth: The presence of hydroponic growing operations can contribute to economic growth in the region. These businesses can create jobs, purchase local supplies, and potentially export their products, boosting the local economy.

  5. Diversification of Agriculture: Supporting hydroponic growing operations diversifies the agricultural landscape in Nodaway County. It adds another dimension to the local agricultural sector, reducing dependence on traditional farming methods and potentially increasing food production in a controlled environment.

  6. Enhanced Food Security: Hydroponic growing operations can produce fresh produce year-round, regardless of seasonal limitations. This can enhance food security in the region by providing a consistent supply of locally grown, fresh produce.

Source: Nowadays News Leader

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