Hackmann explains EEZ, fields questions from opposition at FairTax meeting

Bruce Hackmann of the Fulton Area Development Corporation explains data on a map of the proposed EEZs in Callaway County to a group of onlookers. Hackmann spoke and took questions at the Callaway Citizens for Fairtax meeting Thursday.

Bruce Hackmann of the Fulton Area Development Corporation explains data on a map of the proposed EEZs in Callaway County to a group of onlookers. Hackmann spoke and took questions at the Callaway Citizens for Fairtax meeting Thursday. Photo by Dean Asher.

When Callaway Citizens for FairTax Co-Director Tom Suttles asked Fulton Area Development Corporation President Bruce Hackmann to give a presentation on the proposed Enhanced Enterprise Zone at the FairTax meeting Thursday, Hackmann knew he and those in attendance might have to “agree to disagree.”

It seems that’s precisely what happened. Despite more than two hours of a factual presentation and question-and-answer period, citizens at the meeting still rejected the EEZ — a state program designed to build jobs by enticing new businesses with tax incentives — citing concerns about property value and eminent domain.

During his talk, Hackmann explained the EEZ was developed by the state in 2004 as a way to entice businesses to come to more rural areas with fewer resources by offering state and county tax abatements. The incentives are also available to established businesses that are looking to expand.

Hackmann said that 124 communities in Missouri already have an EEZ in place, and Callaway needed one to stay competitive. He gave an example of a large company he had been in talks with, deciding between moving to Fulton, another community with an EEZ or a community in Tennessee with a similar abatement system in place. He said that company would save between $102,000 to $171,000 in 10 years in state income and partial local property tax abatements if it chose an EEZ community.

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