Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Straight From The Mayor: Looking at our business and job future in Cape Coral

This week I want to use the opportunity to address the business climate and job opportunities in Cape Coral.
From January 1, 2011 to October 31, 2011 there have been 1,738 new businesses that have applied for licenses in Cape Coral. Of those businesses, 983 are home based. 755 of those businesses are an actual store front business in Cape Coral.

Cape Coral has over 1,100 acres of commercial-developed property available for light industrial facilities, health care, information technology, and professional headquarters. Our current infrastructure and strategic location support countless business opportunities. We also have a great deal of office space that is immediately available.

Areas of Cape Coral Set Up for Business Growth
The Veterans Investment Zone (VIZ) contains large plats of undeveloped lands, as well as existing office and retail centers in proximity to the new 220,000 regional VA Outpatient Clinic. We would expect to see hotels, motels, restaurants as possible businesses moving into this area. One has to remember we will be servicing Veterans coming from a large area of the United States. This should create many high paying jobs in the medical field. On top of the businesses I mentioned above, we are probably looking at rehab centers, assisted living facilities, perhaps even nursing homes to fill this area. What that means to Cape Coral, is we are going to have a lot of high paying jobs that are going to be generated in this area of the city alone. From doctors, technicians, nurses, therapists, and more, Cape Coral should see a healthy growth in professional, medical job opportunities in the future.

A second area set for business growth is our two foreign trade zones. These zones allow businesses to import parts and components duty free, as long as they use them to manufacture or assemble products for export. This area could bring in light manufacturing to Cape Coral. These businesses will be able to operate on a duty free basis, which in turn should create an opportunity to effectively compete with any market in North or South America. These areas will allow us to tap into the South American market. There is a lot of money in South America, and this foreign trade zone could have the impact of being able to attract businesses in from North and South America, Canada, Mexico, and beyond.
Tools to Help Businesses In Cape Coral
Our Economic Development Office has created many useful resources for both new and existing businesses in our city. We have site selection resources to help businesses find a proper place to execute their business plan. Another resource we have are strong partnerships and support for business through Florida Gulf Coast University, the Small Business Development Center, and Edison State College. Tapping into the employee market and creating skilled employees, we have the Micro Enterprise Center, Southwest Florida Works, and Hi-Tech North for employee training.

Our Economic Development Office has also instituted customized incentive plans in order to proliferate high wage job creation up to $2,000 per job. We have waived change of use road impact fees for existing buildings, and have created access to county and state economic development incentive programs. If that was not enough, we also have tax incentives. Some of these tax incentives afford businesses the opportunity to not have to pay certain taxes that they would pay in other places. Some of those tax incentives would allow such relief to businesses as not having to pay the following taxes:
  • Public service tax
  • Personal income tax
  • Corporate income tax on limited partnerships
  • Corporate income tax on S corps.
  • Corporate franchise tax on capital stock
  • State level property tax assessment
  • Property tax on business inventories
  • Property tax on goods manufactured or produced in Florida for export outside the state
  • Sales tax on purchases of raw materials incorporated for a final product for resale.
As you can see, that is a long list of tax relief that will hopefully entice businesses to set up shop in our area. This lack of taxing will allow businesses that open here to more effectively compete against businesses in other areas, where these taxes are present.

When one puts all these factors together, Cape Coral has the potential of becoming a the juggernaut of Southwest Florida. Add to that, we now have our new Economic Development Director, and you can see we are poised for business growth in the very near future. This will be an exciting time for Cape Coral.

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