Congress should extend GO Zone

Published 12:56 am Thursday, July 5, 2007

Imagine receiving a Christmas present wrapped up nicely with a bow on top and being told you cannot open it for nearly two years.

Sounds insane, almost cruel, doesn’t it?

But that’s exactly what happened in December 2005 when Congress passed the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act.

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Portions of the south affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita received a great gift, but it wasn’t one that provided instant gratification.

The GO Zone provided a number of tax benefits for everything from huge, multi-million dollar capital expansion projects and housing renovations to hiring of new employees for existing businesses.

Many, many businesses have taken advantage of the GO Zone to expand their businesses and reinvest in the process. Although most of the original GO Zone legislation expires at the end of next year, Congress extended some the legislation for the most severely affected areas.

In Adams County, one only has to look at the recently announced prison being constructed or several downtown renovation projects to see how the GO Zone is affecting positive change in Natchez.

The point of the GO Zone was to get businesses to reinvest into Mississippi and thus increase the tax base and grow the economy.

But the impact of Katrina and Rita delayed the ability for many businesses to quickly get moving on the plan.

We urge our congressmen to consider the benefits of extending the GO Zone further, give more businesses and residents to take advantage of the incentives.

Extending the GO Zone for another year or two would benefit our state for decades to come.