Incentives & Grants

There are a number of financial incentives in place to support downtown investment. The following section highlights the most commonly used tools.

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Revenue Bonds

Revenue Bonds (RBs) are financing instruments issued through the DDA at competitive, below-prime interest rates. RBs, which can be taxable or tax-exempt, provide financing for land, building and equipment acquisition for new and expanding commercial entities. The DDA also has SPLOST funds available for short-term loans.

DDA Façade Grants

Downtown business owners may apply for up to a $5,000 façade grant though the DDA’s partnership with Georgia Power. [ADD LINK]

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U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Loan Programs

The SBA 504 can be used for fixed assets, such as land, buildings, machinery and fixtures. The SBA 7(a) and Low-Doc can be used for many purposes, including inventory, working capital, vehicles and business acquisitions. CSRA Business Lending administers the SBA 504 program and works with local banks to guarantee the 7(a) and Low-Doc programs.

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Georgia's Business Expansion and Support Act of 1994 (BEST)

BEST provides statewide job tax credits and investment tax credits for businesses locating or expanding in Georgia.

  • Job Tax Credit: Tax liability for any one-year may be reduced by a maximum of 100%. Eligible businesses include those involved in manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, processing, tourism and research and development. This credit may be carried forward up to 10 years. For Augusta, a $3,000 tax credit is available for the creation of 10 jobs.
  • Job Tax Credit Joint Development Authorities: Legislation provides for an additional $500 job tax credit for counties that are members of a Joint Development Authority, of which Augusta is a member.
  • Investment Tax Credit: Available to manufacturers or telecommunications companies having a presence in Georgia for at least 5 years. The company must spend at least $50,000 on an expansion project.
  • Optional Investment Credit: Larger credits can, depending on location, offset up to 90% of a manufacturer’s increased income tax liability following a major expansion. These larger investment tax credits can be carried forward for 10 years but may not be taken in conjunction with the job or investment tax credits. For Augusta, a minimum investment of $10 million results in an 8% tax credit.
  • Retraining Tax Credit: Firms providing retraining for employees may receive a tax credit of 25% of their costs, up to $500 per participant, to a maximum of 50% of state income tax liability.
  • Corporate Headquarters Tax Credit: Companies establishing or relocating their headquarters to Georgia may be eligible for a tax credit if the headquarters is defined as the principal central administrative offices of a company. New jobs created at the new headquarters must be full-time and must pay above the average wage.
  • Ports Job Tax Credit: Companies that increase traffic shipped through Georgia ports by 10% or more in a year may be eligible for larger job tax credits. The amount of the bonus tax credit for qualifying firms is $1,250 per job. Applicants must also be eligible for job tax credits under the B.E.S.T. legislation.
  • Research and Development Tax Credit: A tax credit is allowed for expenses of research conducted within Georgia for any business or headquarters of any such business engaged in manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, processing, telecommunications, tourism and research and development industries.
  • Child Care Credit: Employers providing or sponsoring child care for employees are eligible for a tax credit of 75% of their costs, up to 50% of state income tax liability.
  • Small Company Business Growth Tax Credit: A tax credit is granted for any business or headquarters of any such business engaged in manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution, processing, telecommunications, tourism, and research & development industries having a state net taxable income which is 20% or more above that of the preceding year if its net taxable income in each of the two preceding years was also 20% or more.
  • Sales Tax Exemptions: In certain circumstances, sales tax exemptions are available for manufacturing machinery, raw materials, purchase for resale, machinery purchased new and used directly in the manufacturing process, pollution control equipment, machinery components, computer equipment, primary material handling and electricity.
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Historic Tax Credits

Most of downtown Augusta is within a National Register of Historic Places-listed district. There are currently three tax incentive programs available to downtown property owners, including a federal program providing a 20% investment tax credit for a certified rehabilitation when the value of the investment exceeds the adjusted basis of the property. A similar program applies to state income taxes, and another can freeze local property tax assessments for a period of years.

Georgia Cities Foundation

The foundation offers 10-year loans up to $250,000 at below-market rates for downtown development projects coordinated by the DDA through intergovernmental agreements and/or subleases to private owner/developers.

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CSRA Revolving Loan Fund

CSRA Business Lending offers these loans up to $150,000 for most business purposes.

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Georgia Municipal Association

The GMA provides loans for projects deemed likely to have a positive economic impact on communities. Selection is dependent on the project’s potential to induce private investment.

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Link Deposit Program

This provides eligible small-, minority- and women-owned businesses additional sources of loan funds. The program is administered by the Augusta Human Resources Department in cooperation with local banks.

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Economic Development and Recaptured UDAG Loan Fund Programs

These programs were created to finance development projects; establish new businesses and/or expansion of existing businesses; and create employment opportunities for low and moderate-income persons. Loans range between $5,000 and $25,000, with repayment periods of up to 7 years. Recaptured UDAG Loans range between $25,000 and $150,000, with repayment periods of up to 10 years. Eligible uses include business acquisition and construction, land acquisition, purchase of equipment and machinery, working capital, and pollution control and abatement. The program is administered by Augusta’s Housing and Economic Development Department.

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One Georgia Fund

The One Georgia Authority offers loans and grants to projects that support local and regional economic development strategies.

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Edge Fund

Special financial assistance is provided to eligible applicants for locating economic development projects. Response to applications is quick due to the sensitive nature of projects and their tight timeframes. Eligible applicants include city/county governments, development authorities or other public entities.

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Equity Fund

This fund offers financial assistance that includes grants, loans and other incentives for infrastructure, services, facilities and improvements.

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Synovus Small Business Lending

Synovus bankers are well-versed in SBA loans and can help business owners choose the loan that best suits their needs, including SBA 7(a) Loans, 504 Loans, SBA Veterans Advantage Loans, SBA Working Capital Program Loans, SBA CAPLine Working Capital Loans, SBA International Trade Loans and the SBA Express Line of Credit.

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