Jobs bill may boost airport; Incentive zone may be an end result [Waterbury Republican-American]

October 28, 2011

Article as it appeared in the Waterbury Republican-American on October 28, 2011

A $626 million bipartisan jobs bill passed on Wednesday could lead to the creation of an economic incentive zone around the Waterbury-Oxford Airport.

The bill, signed into law by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Thursday, would allow the newly created Connecticut Airport Authority and Department of Economic and Community Development to review proposals for tax incentive zones around the six state-owned airports. Malloy vetoed legislation earlier this year that would have directly created a zone at the Waterbury-Oxford Airport because he said he wanted the new authority to examine the proposals first.

Sen. Robert J. Kane, R-Watertown, said that while an incentive zone has yet to be established for Waterbury-Oxford, he believed the airport was on the “fast-track” since a proposal for the area passed the legislature earlier this year before the governor’s veto.

“They’re further along in the process than any of the others,” Kane said. “I have every indication that Oxford will be first on the list.”

The enterprise zone entitles companies to seek tax breaks and other incentives. The goal is to boost the airport’s presence and bring more manufacturing and high-tech industries to the area.

Kane said he plans to meet with officials from the Department of Economic and Community Development in the coming weeks to tour the airport as well as Middlebury and Southbury, where businesses could benefit from the plan.

If the previous proposal is accepted by the two state authorities, a zone similar to one developed around Bradley International Airport would entitle companies that qualify and plan to build or expand in the area around Waterbury-Oxford Airport up to an 80 percent exemption for real estate and personal property taxes for five years. The state then would reimburse the towns for up to half of the lost tax revenue.

Corporations and businesses could also qualify for a 25 percent tax credit. Businesses that could qualify include research laboratories, manufacturing facilities and freight distribution warehouses.