In 1997, the General Assembly enacted the Enterprise Zone Employment Act, recognizing the need for revitalization in many areas of Georgia. The State Enterprise Zone program intends to improve geographic areas within cities and counties that are suffering from disinvestment, underdevelopment, and economic decline, encouraging private businesses to reinvest and rehabilitate such areas.
The Enterprise Zone area must meet at least three of five criteria:
- Pervasive poverty established using the most current United States decennial census prepared by the U. S. Bureau of Census .
- Unemployment Rate (average for preceding yr.) at least 10% higher than State or significant job dislocation.
- Underdevelopment evidenced by lack of building permits, licenses, land disturbance permits, etc. lower than development activity within local body's jurisdiction.
- General distress and adverse conditions (population decline, health and safety issues etc.).
- General Blight evidenced by the inclusion of any portion of the nominated area in an urban redevelopment area.
- Local property tax exemption -- 36-88-8(a)(1)
- Local abatement or reduction in occupation taxes, regulatory fees, building inspection fees, and other fees that would otherwise be imposed on qualifying business -- OCGA §36-88-9(a)