If you are ready to grow your business in Northeastern Pennsylvania, you may be able to reduce your operating costs by utilizing a variety of tax abatement, tax credit, grant, and low-interest loan programs. Brief descriptions of some of the most popular programs are listed below. Call us when you are ready to expand. We’ll help you figure out which programs work best for you and then match you with the people in high places who will help you apply for the funds.
Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA)
CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park
Companies that move into CenterPoint have the opportunity to dramatically lower their operating costs due to a long established tax abatement program. Every building constructed in Mericle’s CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park receives a 10-year, 100% real estate tax abatement on improvements via the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) program. This abatement program was approved by Luzerne County, the Pittston Area School district, Jenkins Township, and Pittston Township.
The annual real estate taxes you will save when you move into a LERTA-approved building in CenterPoint may vary depending upon the cost of construction required to meet your exact specifications. Contact Bob Besecker, Jim Hilsher, or Bill Jones of Mericle’s Leasing Team for a detailed savings estimate.
Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA)
East Mountain Corporate Center
Office buildings constructed on most of the sites owned by Mericle in the East Mountain Corporate Center receive a 10-year, 100% real estate tax abatement on improvements via the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) program. This abatement program was approved by the Luzerne County Commissioners, the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board, and the Plains Township Board of Commissioners.
The annual real estate taxes you will save when you move into a LERTA-approved building in East Mountain may vary depending upon the cost of construction required to meet your exact specifications. Contact Mericle’s Leasing Team for a detailed savings estimate.
Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ)
If you are deemed to be an eligible business and you locate in a KOZ, you will be exempt from paying most state and local taxes through the end date of the zone. Some of the taxes abated in a KOZ include local real estate taxes, Pennsylvania’s Corporate Net Income Tax, Pennsylvania’s Capital Stock and Foreign Franchise Tax, and Pennsylvania’s Sales and Use Tax on the telephone, gas and electric service you use in the zone and on property or services (excluding motor vehicles) that you consume within the zone.
Mericle has several available properties that are located in KOZs.
Job Creation Tax Credits (JCTC)
This state program can help you offset your various business tax liabilities by providing you with a $1,000 per job tax credit for each new job you create within three years. Twenty-five percent of the tax credits allocated each year must go to businesses with less than 100 employees. Tax credits may not be utilized until your jobs are actually created. You must create at least 25 new jobs or expand your existing workforce by at least 20 percent in order to be eligible. This is a highly competitive funding program.
Pennsylvania First Program
This versatile state program provides grants, loans, and loan guarantees to companies whose projects create/retain a significant number of jobs and have a substantial economic impact on the Commonwealth. Funding can be used for a variety of business expenses, including machinery and equipment, job training, infrastructure, land and building improvements, environmental assessment/remediation, acquisition of land/buildings/right-of-ways, working capital, and site preparation/demolition/clearance.
Your cost to train your employees can be made more manageable with this state grant program.
The WEDnetPA program provides funds to help you train new and existing employees. You can use funding for Essential Skills Training (up to $450 per trainee, per year) and Advanced Technology Training (up to $850 per trainee, per year).
To be eligible, your employees must be residents of and employed in Pennsylvania. They must be permanent, full-time employees (eligible for full-time benefits) and must earn at least 150% of the current federal minimum wage, excluding benefits.
Workforce Investment Act of 1998
The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 is a federal program that reimburses you for part of your training costs. Eligible candidates for this program include private and public sector employers and employees. Any employer that trains program-eligible applicants can apply for reimbursement through the WIA program. Eligible applicants include dislocated workers and unemployed persons.
The funds can be used for job search and placement, skills assessment and evaluation, counseling, training services for individuals and companies, supportive services, and labor marketing information.
You can receive reimbursement for up to 50% of wages paid to eligible employees during training and up to your actual costs of classroom training and related training support services. Reimbursement varies by local workforce investment area.
Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund (MELF)
This state program provides fixed rate, low interest loans to help you acquire and install new or used machinery and equipment or to upgrade existing machinery and equipment. Maximum loan amount is $500,000 or 50% of your total eligible project costs – whichever is less.
Eligible companies include manufacturers and other industrial firms, agricultural processors, information technology businesses, and biotechnology and medical entities. Loan term is up to 10 years depending upon the useful life of the machinery you are financing. You must create or retain one job for every $25,000 you borrow.
Pennsylvania Economic Development Authority (PEDFA) Tax-Exempt Bond Financing
PEDFA issues tax-exempt bonds, both in pooled transactions and stand-alone transactions, to help companies finance land, building, machinery and equipment, working capital, and/or do refinancing.
Through the program, loans of no less than $400,000 and no more than $10 million are made available to manufacturers. Up to 100% of eligible project costs can be financed.
Since 1989, rates have averaged 46 percent of the prime interest rate. The weekly variable interest rate is tied to the market for tax-exempt bonds. Bonds are available for up to a 30-year term. You generally must secure letter of credit from bank and pay a $500 fee due at time of application to be credited against the issuance fee when project closes.
Small Business First (SBF)
This state program provides fixed rate, low interest loans for small businesses. Loans amounts are up to $200,000 or 50% of total eligible project costs – whichever is less.
SBF funding may be used for land and building acquisition and construction, machinery and equipment purchases and upgrades, and working capital. To be eligible, employers must have less than 100 full-time employees. Eligible businesses include manufacturing, industrial, research and development, defense related, and computer-related services.
The loan term is up to 15 years for land and building, up to 10 years for machinery and equipment, and up to three years for working capital. You must create/retain one full-time job for every $25,000 you borrow.
Luzerne County’s Employment Incentive Loan Program
If you are expanding your business in Luzerne County, this program may be able to help you. Loan funds are available for eligible businesses at an interest rate of 1.5% for terms of 7 or 15 years. The County can finance up to 50% of the eligible project costs. Monthly repayments of principal will be required for the term of the loan. County funds will be secured by a letter of credit from a financial institution. Funding will be provided for land and/or business acquisition, construction/renovation activities, purchase of machinery and equipment, and professional and financial fees. Funding may also be obtained for working capital by manufacturing firms.