Incentives high for job creation

Sandra Clark

A good deal awaits jobs-producing business growth just up the road in Union County.

Gov. Bill Haslam and the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development, headed by Knoxville guy Randy Boyd, have reclassified Tennessee counties to create a designation that helps rural counties recruit new business. In 17 so-called “tier four” counties, the state will double down on incentives.

Gary Human, regional director for Tennessee ECD, met last week with the Union County Chamber of Commerce. He distributed a densely packed sheet called “Tennessee Incentives at a Glance,” highlighting 11 different programs for business financial incentives. He said complete information is available on the state’s website.

Great … we won’t go there. But you can. Meanwhile:

■  TDOT is linking Union County to I-75 by four-laning Highway 33. That work, along with interchange work at Norris Freeway and Emory Road, is near completion.

■  Hallsdale Powell Utility District built and operates a high-tech water treatment plant on Norris Lake. Lake lots are hot commodities in subdivisions in Sharps Chapel.

■  Union County High School students made higher gains on this spring’s ACT tests than any other school district in the state, raising test averages by nearly two points. The workforce is trained and hungry.

Take a short drive this weekend to meet some friendly people. It’s the Heritage Festival in Maynardville. The county has three industrial parks and acres of vacant land on the four-way. With just a few new plants – maybe one or two – Union County will lose that tier four designation. It’s just that close.

Meanwhile, Haslam and Boyd are doubling down on incentives for job training, economic development and infrastructure. Job credits can be up to half of a company’s state tax liability, Human said.
“Come here, come home” is the slogan of the Union County Chamber. Those voices are calling for you.

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