Editorial: Enterprise zone tax break for BasX is good for Deschutes

Published Dec 19, 2013 at 12:01AM

Enterprise zone tax breaks have served Central Oregon well, and there’s no reason to think the newest one, granted to BasX Solutions, won’t follow the same model. Deschutes County commissioners approved the plan earlier this week.

Businesses within enterprise zones can avoid some property taxes for a given number of years, in the BasX case, five.

BasX, which will manufacture portable surgical suites and power storage facilities, expects to purchase the old Wal-Mart property on the south end of Redmond. When the business is up and running in 2015, its owners say it will employ 60 workers and pay them at least 150 percent of the average wage in the county, or more than $54,000 per year.

BasX will pay property taxes on the land and building as they’re currently assessed, this year more than $132,800 before the discount for full payment up front. What it will avoid is property taxes on improvements it makes to the building and property.

The city of Redmond, the Redmond School District and any other tax district in which the property lies will continue to receive about what they get today. BasX, meanwhile, expects the break will save it about $257,000 in taxes over the five-year period the exemption is in place — or less than $52,000 annually in additional taxes.

Were improvements to the property not made, tax bills would stay flat and the county would collect no additional revenues in any event.

At the same time, new BasX jobs should pump more than $3 million into the county each year, money that will be spent on groceries, clothing, real estate and so on. And because BasX is required to pay 150 percent of the average wage, that average will rise a bit.

Enterprise zones are valuable tools in attracting new business — think Facebook and Apple near Prineville — to areas in need of good jobs. That’s been true for Crook County; it’s equally true of the BasX deal in Deschutes County.