Harrison Co. supervisors grant tax exemptions to several companies

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Harrison County supervisors on Monday approved tax breaks for several companies located in the Gulfport Industrial Park. The board president says granting such tax exemptions is a way to stimulate the overall economy.

Board of Supervisors President Kim Savant says you have to look at the "big picture" when approving tax exemptions for industry. The companies given the tax breaks enjoy the financial advantage of not paying certain taxes, but when they re-invest that money to expand their business, everyone benefits.

Supervisors approved granting Freeport warehouse licenses to two companies in the industrial park: Goldin Metals and Hydro Carbide Inc. That exempts those businesses from paying inventory tax on the products they export.

Industries can qualify if at least 51 percent of their product is shipped out of Mississippi.

"Hydro Carbide has been in the Gulfport Industrial Park there for at least 20 years now. Never have asked for any exemptions prior to this one," Harrison County Economic Development Director Bill Hessell told the Board of Supervisors.

Supervisors granted the exemption to Hydro Carbide and agreed to extend the inventory tax exemption to Goldin Metals. Board President Savant says that company is a great example of the way such exemptions are supposed to work.

"And because of that exemption, they have re-invested in their business, expanding their existing facilities and are actually paying somewhere in the neighborhood of $60,000 or more a year in ad volurem tax than they would have if we had charged the inventory tax," said Savant.

Seeman Composites is the third company for which supervisors approved tax relief at Monday's meeting. That firm was seeking ad volurem tax exemption for a new building and equipment.

"They have expanded their operations. They have doubled the size of their building. They've doubled their employment," said Hessell.

Such economic growth is also an example of the dividends yielded by exemptions.

Seeman Composites still pays ad volurem taxes on the rest of its business, only the taxes on the expansion are deferred.

"That's what tax exemptions are all about. You want to spur employment. You want to increase revenues some other way than just taxing people out of business," said Supervisor Savant.

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