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Cruz Bay
Friday, October 7, 2022


Sen. Lorraine Berry announced Monday she will introduce a bill aimed at reinvigorating blighted downtown areas on St. Thomas and St. Croix.
Berry said that at Tuesday's Finance Committee hearing, she will offer the bill to establish an enterprise zone program, which, among other incentives, will make tax benefits available to businesses in areas such as Frederiksted, Christiansted and Savan.
The enterprise zone is not a new proposal. Former Gov. Roy L. Schneider proposed an enterprise-zone program and Senate hearings have already been held on the concept.
To qualify for tax benefits, a business must make a minimum investment of $10,000 in an enterprise zone and employ at least two Virgin Islands residents.
Enterprise zone businesses will be eligible for a gross receipts or income tax credit equal to 25 percent of the actual value of constructing a new building or rehabilitating an existing one, a gross receipts or income tax credit equal to 10 percent of money invested in machinery or equipment, and an overall 3 percent gross receipts reduction.
Businesses will also be eligible for a one-time property tax credit equal to the property tax increase caused by rehabilitating a building.
Beneficiaries will decide whether they want gross receipts or income tax credits.
Berry also said the Enterprise Zone Program has several "cost containment" measures: It does not require creating an entirely new commission to manage it and benefits for expenditures incurred over a five-year period cannot be extended.
Beneficiaries are also required to buy from local vendors, provided the "bid" of a local vendor does not exceed the bid of a non-resident vendor by 25 percent.
Berry said she will offer the enterprise zone bill as a substitute to the Economic Short Term Stimulus Act of 1999.

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