Georgia bill gives rural downtowns incentive to renovate stores

Published 8:41 pm Tuesday, May 23, 2017

House Bill 73 has made its way through both the Georgia Senate and the House of Representatives and was signed by Gov. Nathan Deal. The bill offers tax credits to anyone who purchases, renovates, or creates jobs in small town downtowns throughout Georgia.

Per District 171 Representative Jay Powell, for a building to qualify for the tax credits, the local government or community needs to designate it in an area ripe for revitalization.

From there, anyone who acquires a building or renovates a building they already own and create jobs is eligible for tax credits that help with parts of acquisition cost, renovation cost and for the cost of paying employees.
If the buildings do not create employment, the investment does not qualify for the tax credits.

Email newsletter signup

“All of it is keyed to employment,” said Powell, a co-sponsor of the bill. “If I create jobs downtown, I can get tax credits.”

The tax credits are varied per qualification. For employment, each full-time job created will be eligible for a $2,000 annual income tax credit, but the overall credit is not to exceed $40,000 per taxable year.

The credit for the purchase of a downtown building will be equal to 25 percent of the purchase price, not to exceed $125,000. For renovations, the credit is set to equal 30 percent of the expenditures, not to exceed $150,000.

“Everybody has got a Wal-Mart or a Dollar Store or a whatever,” said Powell. “A lot of times stuff is going out there on the bypass, or the four-lane of 319, or 27, and it’s not happening in downtown, and that’s what makes us unique.”

Powell stated that he hopes the bill will incentivize people to invest and keep investing in downtowns.

District 11 Senator Dean Burke also hopes that the bill will help in downtown Bainbridge.

“I think Bainbridge is well poised to take advantage of that. I am very hopeful that Bainbridge will apply,” Burke said.

The bill will become effective July 1, according to Powell.