Hub City Could be in for Economic Boom - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/9/03

Hub City Could be in for Economic Boom

Lubbock's quest to attract major corporations and better jobs is about to get a shot in the arm. Although the arrival of Krispy Creme is certainly sweet news, when big business moves in, it's even sweeter for the economy.

Lubbock is on the cusp of becoming a Foreign Trade Zone, which could translate into an economic boom. If Lubbock does get a Foreign Trade Zone designation, it would mean that major corporations operating in Lubbock would receive enormous tax breaks on imports.

For example, San Antonio just landed the new Toyota trucks assembly plant, and the only reason they got it is because San Antonio is a Foreign Trade Zone.

The subject did generate some discussion in a city council work session, but it wasn't a hard sell.

"Lubbock stands to gain job creation and job retention," says Trey Boring, the Vice-President of the company hired by Lubbock to help the city apply to be a Foreign Trade Zone.

That designation would give Lubbock companies big tax breaks on foreign imports. Another tool to spur economic development and attract major corporations. It would also be hugely beneficial to businesses like Mrs. Baird's, which imports a large percentage of its materials from Mexico. It also helps cities retain companies.

The city council is all but sold on the idea. Lubbock is, after all, the largest city in Texas that isn't a Foreign Trade Zone. Even two smaller cities, Amarillo and Midland have their FTZ designation. The biggest downfall, it's another program that would need to be managed by the city. And given the recent track record of mismanagement at WTMPA, LP&L and Market Lubbock, that is a concern.

But the advantages appear to outweigh the disadvantages. Tomorrow morning, the Lubbock city council is expected to pass a resolution supporting this. Then, the city must apply with the federal government. If all goes as planned, we should be a Foreign Trade Zone in nine months.

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