By MATT HOPF
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Republican mayoral candidate Kyle Moore says he wants to help spur new development by providing tax incentives to existing businesses in the city's enterprise zone if they recruit one of their suppliers to town.
Moore proposed the business recruitment plan during a news conference Wednesday morning. He said the plan to abate taxes was offered in Belvidere in northern Illinois, where he said 950 jobs have been added the last two years.
Moore said he would try to follow the same model with council approval, abating taxes for an additional eight years on a sliding scale on top of any incentives the business may already be receiving as part of being in an enterprise zone.
"We need to leverage the relationships that our business leaders have," Moore said in an interview. "Who better to do that than our business leaders?"
Ideally, Moore said, other taxing bodies in Adams County would consider following suit, so all businesses in enterprise zones would have the same incentive to recruit more businesses to the area.
"We can propose it in the city, but certainly I would like to see other taxing bodies participate if we can come to an agreement," he said.
Moore also suggested setting aside $15,000 from the city's two downtown tax increment financing districts to be used for a rental assistance program for new small businesses downtown.
Aldermen would have to approve such an arrangement, but Moore said Springfield has a similar program.
"Our downtown has seen record success over the last few years, but we shouldn't be satisfied," Moore said. "I see our downtown as a perfect area for start-up companies to thrive."
Moore, who is attempting to unseat two-term Mayor John Spring, says more needs to be done on the jobs front, even though Adams County has the second-lowest unemployment rate in the state. He says his figures show the average family income in Quincy has fallen 14 percent in the past 10 years, compared with a 12 percent drop statewide,
"We have to do the things that have to set us up for long-term prosperity and bring good paying jobs to the city of Quincy," he said. "We are going to encourage our business leaders to be partners in our economic development."
If elected April 9, Moore said he would "re-engage the business community" through discussions and surveys to gauge their needs.
"Those entrepreneurs who make our city what it is today," he said. "They are the foundation of our community, and we cannot grow without a strong foundation to build on."
This is the first-term alderman's third press conference announcing his platform.
Last month, he proposed the city establish a five-year strategic budgeting plan to help identify revenue and direct city spending. In January, he proposed creating a community-wide measurement tool called "the Quincy Scorecard" to track the effectiveness of city operations.