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Date of Issue: May 05, 2010

County commission tables tax

The Manatee Economic Development Council earlier this year served up a proposed $35 annual tax on local businesses.

The Board of Manatee County Commissioners last week agreed to leave the tax on the table.

The commission vote to table the tax was unanimous, coming near the conclusion of the board’s regular meeting at the administration center in Bradenton April 27.

The tax would have raised money for the EDC — an arm of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce — and its efforts to lure new business and industry to the area to stimulate economic growth.

Several weeks ago, commissioners approved $400,000 in one-time funding to cover the amount the tax would have raised in its first year. The county had already approved $196,000 in EDC funding for the 2009-10 budget year.

Commissioners, at the time they approved the $400,000 allocation, were not prepared to consider the EDC-recommended tax, citing questions about how the money would be spent and citing concerns about adding a new tax burden on already suffering businesses.

During commissioner comments April 27, Commissioner Ron Getman motioned to table the tax. Commissioner John Chappie, who represents the Island, seconded.

The only discussion on the motion was how it would read. Commissioners quickly agreed to the intent.

“Let’s just say let’s discontinue any discussion of the business tax,” said Commissioner Donna Hayes.

The board encouraged the business community to explore other ways to generate revenue for economic development projects.