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Maryland designates new enterprise zones

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(The Center Square) — Three Maryland places were added to the state’s enterprise zones on Friday – the Woodlawn area in Baltimore County, Betteron and Worton in Kent County and Snow Hill in Worcester County.

Four other locations in Somerset County, Cecil County, Dorchester County, and another in Baltimore County received redesignations or expansions of existing zones.

When the Maryland Department of Commerce designates an area as an enterprise zone, businesses within it may be eligible for certain tax credits.

Locations needing economic development can benefit from the designation, as it helps existing businesses and draws new businesses to the area.

“This program is one of the most important incentives in our arsenal, and over its 40-year history, it has helped spur billions in private investment,” said Maryland Department of Commerce Secretary Kevin Anderson.

State and local governments together facilitate the EZ program. Businesses in an enterprise zone that create jobs “may be eligible for a tax credit towards their state income tax filings based upon the number of new jobs created.”

If a zone business makes capital investments in its property, it may be eligible for a tax credit toward its local real property taxes based on how much it invests.

Maryland now has 34 enterprise zones, and its zone businesses are set to receive “$47 million in property tax credits based on more than $4.3 billion in investments in FY23.”

In Baltimore County’s Woodlawn, the county has allotted $20 million for “community-driven revitalization” in the area, and 756 acres of office, flex, light manufacturing and warehouse space within the grounds of the Security Square Mall have been designated as its enterprise zone, according to a release from the governor’s office. Woodlawn has already seen positive outcomes from the county’s investments, such as its new Woodlawn Health Center.

Baltimore County’s redesignated Southwest Enterprise Zone has been historically “the county’s most successful zone,” according to the release, with businesses creating more than 1,200 jobs since 1996 and investing more than $210 million in the area.

Kent County has already been working on increasing business and improving the towns of Betteron and the Worton Industrial Area. The new enterprise zone designation seeks to help the county retain business and help businesses expand in those areas.

Worcester County’s Snow Hill hopes to attract new businesses and bring new life to its historic downtown with its enterprise zone. The downtown is a tourist attraction in the area, but according to the release, “one-third of the commercial units are … vacant or underutilized, causing potential owners to face a high cost to renovate.”

The enterprise zone in Princess Anne in Somerset County currently contains the town’s historic district and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and now includes an additional 152 acres where the new Somerset County Industrial Park will be built.

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