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Published on Thursday, December 13, 2018

San Antonio City Council Adopts New Tax Abatement Guidelines That Prioritize Workforce Development, Equitable Growth

CONTACT: Trevor Whitney, (210) 207-3915


SAN ANTONIO (Dec. 13, 2018) – Today San Antonio City Council approved updates to the City’s 2019-2020 Tax Abatement Guidelines, which focus on integrating traditional incentive policies with a focus on socioeconomic mobility through workforce training for San Antonio residents. The new guidelines were approved as part of a State-required biennial review of these policies that are used to incent direct investment and expansion of business entities within the city. The policy was developed over a year-long process during which City staff worked in partnership with local businesses, community stakeholders, and national site selectors.


“The City of San Antonio is committed to creating equitable opportunities for residents in every part of our city,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “These policy guidelines are a commitment to our values of inclusiveness, progress, and the creation of pathways to good jobs through workforce development.”


City Council can abate property taxes for qualified businesses that seek to create jobs in the City’s target industries, to make significant capital investments, and that partner on policy areas such as sustainability initiatives and small, minority, women, veteran, owned business enterprise contracting goals. The new guidelines provide options for businesses to commit to workforce development programs, paid internships, hiring from distressed areas of the city, or other priorities to secure the city’s recommendation for economic incentive packages.


“Today, I am enthusiastic in moving forward with new criteria for awarding economic development incentives. We will continue our commitment to attracting 21st century jobs to San Antonio while allowing EDD to partner with employers who are providing workforce training which will not only prepare our next generation for employment, but will also provide better opportunities to draw in new businesses and allow existing businesses to flourish,” said San Antonio Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran, Chair of the Economic and Workforce Development Council Committee.


While a majority of the existing Tax Abatement policy remains in place from previous years, the 2019-2020 Tax Abatement Policy introduces a new project type called an Upskill Project. This is a new type of project designed to work with employers that provide low-barrier to entry jobs, agree to partner on inclusive hiring from distressed communities, and build workforce development partnerships through local non-profits.


“San Antonio continues to be a dynamic economy. The new tax abatement guidelines add value for residents, through expanded workforce development. This system provides people with immediate job opportunities while preparing them with the skills to perform the jobs of tomorrow,” said San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley.


Companies that wish to pursue economic incentives in San Antonio will be evaluated by the traditional job and investment criteria balanced with mutually beneficial commitment to programs that benefit residents and the community at large.


“San Antonio’s fast-growing population, pro-business environment, competitive cost of doing business and skilled workforce support Team San Antonio’s efforts to attract and retain world-class employers,” said Jenna Saucedo-Herrera, President & CEO of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation. “Incentives enhance smart job growth within our target industries that provide economic mobility for our citizens and drive our community’s economic prosperity for many years to come.”


The new tax abatement guidelines will take effect on January 1, 2019. In December 2020, San Antonio City Council will re-evaluate their impact and make adjustments based upon City staff’s research. Tax abatements are a valuable tool in securing significant new jobs and investment to support the job and tax base of our growing City. A 2017 study by Dr. Steve Nivin of the SABER Institute at St. Mary’s University determined that the City’s economic development incentives produce a return on investment of $5.22 for every $1 of incentive provided.

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Categories: Economic Development