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City Extends Sales Tax Rebates For Downtown Businesses

El Paso City Council has extended sales tax rebates for Downtown businesses. In a 7 to 1 vote, City Council decided to continue an incentive program that was slated to end in September of this year to 2022.

That’s a 10 year extension. The program calls for the City to return a portion of collected sales tax from eligible businesses.

Under the revised ordinance, only businesses that are current on their property taxes and do not owe any outstanding debts to the city are eligible. The businesses must also have a minimum expenditure amount of $50,000. Under a prior version of the incentive program, it was $100,000.

To encourage revitalization, the City wants to provide further incentives for development in Downtown. Since 2006, there has been $246 million in public and private investment Downtown, according to a City presentation.

The private projects that have utilized the incentive program include the Double Tree Hotel, Mills Plaza, Tabla and The Garden restaurants and Pot au Feu, among others.

“The empirical benefits are clear when it comes to revitalizing Downtown,” said City Rep. Steve Ortega. He said a vital Downtown provides for quality of life.

Northeast City Rep. Carl Robinson said he was concerned that Downtown businesses were getting more attention than projects in other parts of the City. Planning and Economic Development Director Mathew McElroy said federal grants were also being utilized to revitalize other older areas, like lower Dyer and Five Points.

City Rep. Eddie Holguin, who is often opposed to tax rebates, voted against the measure.

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