EASTON — About 40 real estate agents, developers, real estate lawyers and local professionals attended an economic development resource fair Wednesday morning, Sept. 18, at the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy.

The event highlighted a number of newly created business and economic development incentives and financing programs. It was sponsored by the Talbot County Department of Economic Development and Tourism in partnership with the Easton Business Alliance and the Easton Economic Development Corporation.

Attendees learned how to take advantage of various incentives and tax credits to expand their businesses and thrive in the local community.

“The resource fair is a great way for business owners to learn about the incentives and programs that have recently launched here in Talbot County,” said Sam Shoge, Talbot County economic development coordinator. “Getting this information out to our business leaders is a top priority for the county’s economic development stakeholders ...”

“We want to make it easy for our businesses to do business here and help them succeed,” said Cassandra Vanhooser, Talbot County economic development and tourism director.

Presentations throughout the morning focused on topics such as Maryland Commercial PACE, a program commercial and industrial building owners can leverage to finance energy efficiency upgrades, including high-efficiency HVAC, plumbing, lighting and solar panels.

Speakers included Jessa Coleman, PACE Financial Servicing program manager; Abigail McKnight, Maryland Department of Commerce, tax specialist; Frank Dickson, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, Strategic Business Initiatives director; and Ross Benincasa, Easton Business Alliance director.

Topics of discussion also included Enterprise Zones, a Maryland Department of Commerce incentive available to businesses in designated areas of Easton and Tilghman Island. The program provides tax credits on the increased value of commercial and industrial buildings when improvements have been made. The program also provides a tax credit to businesses that hire new employees.

There also was a presentation on Opportunity Zones, a newly created incentive from the U.S. Treasury that aims to direct capital gains into investment opportunities in designated locations throughout the United States. Investors who invest capital gains into opportunity fund investments benefit from reduced tax rates.

Finally, there was a presentation on the Arts & Entertainment District. A Maryland State Arts Council incentive, this program provides income tax deductions to artists who create and sell art in designated districts.

The program also provides property tax credits on the increased assessed value of a building after improvements have been made.

Attendees were given networking opportunities and a continental breakfast.

For more information, call the Talbot County Department of Economic Development and Tourism at 410-770-8058.


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