The head of Savannah's development authority was recently named one of the one hundred most influential Georgians in Georgia Trend magazine. Trip Tollison has presided over the creation of an I-16 corridor development authority, the purchase of a massive business park in Chatham County, and the return of 14 unproductive parcels to the local tax digest. He says that programs to defer taxes help get businesses off the ground:
Think about it--10 years ago, these 14 properties collectively were paying less than $225,000 annually in property taxes. So we take 10 years, help the companies get established and grow without the burden of property taxes. Today, those companies are back on the tax digest, where their collective tax bill is now nearly $3 million on an annual basis.Tax incentives have been controversial in Georgia in recent years. Some school systems have said that they are not always consulted about how development authority tax agreements can affect school revenues.