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GO Zone unique opportunity for economic development

With every disaster there is a silver lining. While it has beendifficult to find one following Katrina, the economic developmentpotential of recent federal legislation to rebuild the areas hit bythe storm may hold just that – a silver lining.

Called the Gulf Opportunity Zone, or GO Zone for short, countiesincluded in the zone have a bundle of economic incentives -including 4.8 billion in bonds to offer prospective industries.Southwest Mississippi sits in the middle of the zone.

The timing for the new LinBrook Business Park could not bebetter. The zone was created to encourage private-sector investmentto those areas hit hardest by Katrina and offers additionaldepreciation or tax-free industrial development bonding forcompanies seeking to invest in the area.

But the incentives are not just for multi-million dollarcompanies. Those same incentives are available for small localbusinesses needing to expand facilities and add equipment.

A business need not have had damage from Katrina. With a fewexceptions, all businesses in this area are eligible to takeadvantage of the program.

A example given at a local meeting on Thursday pointed out thata $200,000 investment could translate into a $68,000 first year taxsavings for the business.

All this boils down to an opportunity for economic growth andnew jobs in the area. As the Mississippi Gulf Coast goes throughthis renaissance of rebuilding and economic development, so too canthis area join that effort by taking advantage of the silverlining.

Katrina hit us hard, but this is an opportunity to strikeback.

As State Treasurer Tate Reeves said Thursday, “This is truly aonce-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”