Wednesday, February 06, 2013

FLORIDA: Brevard commission supports incentives for aerospace firms


Brevard County commissioners on Tuesday gave their initial approval to financial incentives for two aerospace companies seeking to create a total of 84 jobs on the Space Coast. 

 But Commissioner Trudie Infantini voted no on both proposals, saying that while she supports property tax breaks for companies creating jobs, she doesn’t like the way these two companies would get their incentives — in cash payments.

“Before we start handing over cash upfront or doing matching funds, maybe we should just let businesses start succeeding on their own merits,” Infantini said.

• United Paradyne Corp., which provides support and products for the aerospace-hardware industry, said it wants to create 50 jobs paying an average of $64,000 a year.

It asked the County Commission to designate it as a qualified target industry eligible for state financial incentives, as well as provide $40,000 in county incentives over an eight-year period as a required partial match for the state incentives.

• BRS Aerospace said it’s considering opening a research-and-development and prototyping operation in Brevard, creating 34 jobs paying an average of $62,100 a year.

BRS designs, tests and produces aircraft-safety systems, primarily for unmanned and training aircraft. It also asked to be designated as qualified target industry and sought $27,200 from the county over a six-year period.

County Manager Howard Tipton said the cash payments are spread out over a number of years and are tied to “performance guarantees“ to ensure the companies create the jobs they promised.

He said “the dollar values are very small” in relation to the economic effect of the jobs that could be created.

Infantini said the commission should “start moving a little slower when throwing out taxpayers’ cash.”

“That’s all I’m suggesting,” she said, adding that even with her objections there were enough votes on the commission to pass the measures.

The other four commissioners voted in favor of the resolutions.

“If we don’t do it, someone else is more than willing to do it,” and another community will get the jobs, County Commission Chairman Andy Anderson said. “I don’t like the system. I don’t like how economic development goes in the United States. But it’s an evil we have to operate within the game that’s out there right now.”

Tuesday’s votes were preliminary, with final County Commission action scheduled for Feb. 19.


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