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DBED OK’s expanded Enterprise Zones

ANNAPOLIS — More property tax credits will be available for businesses that operate in Baltimore’s and Salisbury’s Enterprise Zones after state approval of their expansion.

The state Department of Business and Economic Development on Thursday announced the approval of expanding the Enterprise Zone program, which operates in 12 counties and Baltimore City.

Baltimore’s zone will expand to include Harbor Point and areas of South Central Avenue and South Eden Street in Harbor East. Exelon Corp. is planning to build its Baltimore headquarters on the waterfront Harbor Point parcel.

“The Enterprise Zone designation helps to support ongoing business development and growth in many Baltimore neighborhoods,” Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a statement. “As we continue our efforts to grow Baltimore by 10,000 families in the next 10 years, the Enterprise Zone will help create great new job opportunities in strong communities for current and new residents.”

The Salisbury-Wicomico enterprise zone, the first such zone in the state, also had to reapply for inclusion in the program. The zone was expanded by 435 acres to 4,280 acres in an attempt to revitalize Salisbury’s central business district and spur development along the Wicomico River.

Salisbury Mayor Jim Ireton said the zones would help reduce sprawl and revitalize the city’s downtown and historic areas.

Zones are drawn by local governments but are subject to approval by the state. DBED says businesses in the state’s 30 Enterprise Zones received $27.4 million in property tax credits in the past year.

Companies in enterprise zones receive an 80 percent credit on their property taxes for five years, after which the percentage declines 10 percent annually until reaching 30 percent in the final year. Companies also could receive a one-time $1,000 incentive for each employee hired.