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Tax Break For Bloomington Company Could Lead To New Hires

The TASUS Corporation is getting a $2.2 million property tax break to incentivize growth. Some county council members say its not a good use of taxpayer money.

Worker at TASUS

Photo: TASUS Corporation

A TASUS Corporation worker inspects a car tail light. The company provides plastic products to several major car manufacturers.

A local auto parts manufacturer has purchased new plastics molding equipment and has promised to hire additional employees as part of a tax abatement agreement approved last night by the Monroe County Council.

The Bloomington-based TASUS Corporation will not have to pay $2.2 million in property tax over the next ten years as a part of a tax abatement agreement aimed at adding or retaining jobs in the county. TASUS says it is using the money to buy new machines to manufacture plastic parts for Toyota, Honda, Ford, BMW, Tesla and other car manufacturers worldwide.

“We went through a period of shrinking when the automotive industry, as well as most of the industries, were in the decline in the past few years, but we are on a growth trend again,” TASUS President Melanie Hart says.

According to Hart, since more car manufacturers are creating lighter cars, the high performance plastics her company makes are becoming more popular than heavier steel alternatives.

County Council President Julie Thomas says she supports the work TASUS does in the community but feels this abatement is not in the best interest of county taxpayers since the company already gets a tax break by operating in a Tax Increment Financing District (TIF),  a specially defined area that gives the companies inside it a break on property tax for the first few years of development in order to boost economic activity.

“The money is in essence being withheld twice–once in the TIF and once in the abatement,” she says. “There are many places in this country where that is illegal, and I just think that it’s a bad policy.”

TASUS currently has 123 employees at its Monroe County facility. Hart says at least seven more will be added soon, with hopes to grow her staff even more in 2012.

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  • geoffmckim

    While I’m glad to see reporting on the efforts of the County Council to encourage the economic vitality of our community, and I respect the views of Councilor Thomas on tax abatements within TIF districts, I also feel the need to correct several serious errors in this story. 

    First, a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district does NOT give companies inside it a break on property tax. Rather, a TIF district provides infrastructure for development (roads, sewers, trails, etc.) and then uses the property taxes paid by companies inside it to finance that infrastructure. 

    Second, the money is NOT being withheld twice. The tax abatement that was approved for Tasus was for personal property (a term of art that refers in this case to capital equipment), not real property (i.e., land and buildings). However, the TIF district in question here does not even get revenues from personal property (except for GE). So the abatement on personal property for Tasus has absolutely no effect on the TIF whatsoever. Further, even if the abatement were on real property, the money wouldn’t be withheld twice — it would just be withheld from the TIF district, rather than from the surrounding county.

    There are certainly situations in which granting tax abatements within TIF districts is bad policy (which I think Councilor Thomas is calling attention to) — i.e., when the abatement would starve the TIF district from revenues enough to jeopardize its ability to pay its bonds on the infrastructure. But this abatement is not one of those situations; as a personal property tax abatement, it is both entirely neutral to the TIF district in which it is located, AND it is in no way being withheld twice.

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