New Hanover County Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution last night to request port enhancement zones in the county. If approved by the Secretary of Commerce, the three zones would provide higher tax incentives to businesses willing to expand or relocate in those areas.
One potential zone is near the Port of Wilmington, one is in Castle Hayne, and the third is near U.S. Highway 421 – east of Castle Hayne.
The tax credits would be equivalent to those available in so-called Tier 1 counties. And businesses located in the port enhancement zones – or PEZs – would not be subject to the more stringent Tier 3 requirements for tax incentives.
For example, if the Commerce Department approves the zones, businesses locating within those zones could get a tax break of up to seven percent – instead of the standard 3.5 percent. Also, credit for each job created would shoot from $750 per job – to more than $12,000. Tier 3 counties, such as New Hanover, Pender, and Brunswick Counties are deemed more financially robust than economically-distressed Tier 1 counties.