If you are keeping up with the County Commissioner race in Chattooga County then you may have heard the term "Freeport Tax Exemption". It is an issue that all five of the men seeking the job of County Commissioner have discussed.
According to the Georgia Department of Revenue "Freeport Tax Exemption" is an exemption on tangible personal property owned by a manufacturer. It exempts inventory of goods in the process of being manufactured or the raw materials to make those goods; inventory of good produced in the county and held in inventory for not longer than 12 months; and inventory that is held as of January 1st that is scheduled for shipment within the next 12 months.
The percentage of exemption can be set at 20, 40, 60, 80 or 100 percent of the inventory value. Over sixty percent of Georgia counties and cities have adopted the Freeport Exemption at some level.
Voters in Chattooga County voted to implement the freeport tax exemption in 2004, but the county commissioner has never implemented or set the rate for exemption, so affectively even though voters voted for freeport exemption for industry it is not being used at this time in Chattooga County. That’s where the debate is coming in on "Freeport Taxes" in this commissioners race. From the public statements of the candidates it would indicate that Jason Winters and Blake Jones both believe in actively using the Freeport Tax Exemption to attract new industry. Charles Black and Mike Dawson don’t believe it should be implemented at this time due to lack of infastructure in the county and Joe Reed has indicated that he thinks it should be a tool the commissioner has at his disposal, but has not said that he would in fact implement freeport tax exemption for industry.