Friday, July 2, 2010

Where do Your Property Taxes Go? Economic Development in SA

A recap of the City of San Antonio budget.

The City of San Antonio receives revenues from several sources: Property taxes (25%), Charges and fees (20%), Revenues from Utilities (17%), Grants (usually federal) (15%), Sales Tax (14%), Hotel/Motel Tax (4%), Other Taxes (Short Term Rental Tax, Bingo Tax, etc) (2%), Fines (Library Fines, Traffic Tickets) (1%), Miscellaneous (1%), Intergovernment (0.6%), Permits/Licenses (0.4%)

The 2010 Budget for the City divides general fund expenditures in the following ways: Police (36%), Fire/EMS (26%), other services (Aviation, Community Initiatives, Historic Preservation, Solid Waste Management, Military Affairs, etc) (11%), Convention, Tourism and Culture (9%), Streets and Infrastructure (7%), Environmental (5%), Parks & Recreation (6%), Agencies (4%), Library (3%), Health (1%), Municipal Courts (1%), Neighborhood Services (1%), Economic Development (0.5%), Animal Care (0.5%). I will take you through each of these items in separate posts. If you feel that you have a better way to spend the money you can post your suggestions on the online Budget suggestion box for the 2011 budget.
(For links to all items in the CSA budget, see past posts.)

The city's Economic Development Department's job is to promote SA to out of town businesses and to be a booster of existing businesses.  The department does this by offering incentives to businesses to encourage employment growth.  Incentives come in a number of forms, tax abatements (lower taxes for a certain period), enterprize zone designation (recieve benefits for hiring 25% economically disadvantaged persons), industrial development bonds, health facility bonds, higher education facilities bonds, empowerment zone bonds, a Foriegn Trade Zone (allows manufacturers to import assembly parts free of duty and assemble them in the zone, and to reexport with no duties), Freeport Exemption (SAISD and Judson ISD exempt businesses from paying personal property taxes if they are dealing with goods-in-transit or inventories used in manufacturing) and Historically Underutilized Business Zones (assist businesses in the zones to win federal contracts). 

 Economic Development also assists small businesses in forming contracts with the city to complete the $550 million in bond improvement projects approved in 2007.  It also offers continuing education for small business owners and helps fund the South Texas Women's Business Center and the South Texas Business Fund.  The funds offer low interest loans to small businesses in SA. 

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