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Published: Sunday, 9/23/2007

Sharing the tax wealth

IN A WELCOME departure from recent accusations of "poaching" over the decision by FedEx Ground to relocate outside Toledo, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner and Perrysburg Township officials have agreed to establish a tax-sharing district in Wood County that gives a boost to regional cooperation.

The memo of understanding, approved by Toledo City Council on Tuesday, provides that Toledo will supply the new economic-development district with water and sewer service in return for a 2.25 percent income tax on worker paychecks at all businesses that set up shop there.

Toledo would keep all the income-tax revenues up to the amount collected in 2006 or 2007, whichever is greater. The city and township would split all income-tax revenues above that figure, as well as income taxes collected from other businesses that locate in the district.

This is a win-win-win situation.

Perrysburg Township wins because it gets to share in a revenue stream otherwise unavailable to it. Toledo wins because it avoids losing between $200,000 and $250,000 in income taxes paid by FedEx's 600 full and part-time workers. FedEx wins because it gets the location it wants and maintains access to Toledo water.

While this is not the first tax-sharing agreement Toledo has entered into, it is another example of what can be accomplished when officials from Toledo and outlying areas take a regional approach to economic development. As we have pointed out, the time has passed when urban areas routinely used water as a weapon in annexation. But water is still a powerful tool that, wielded properly, gives Toledo a say in regional growth and encourages development that benefits both Toledo and surrounding municipalities.

The City of Toledo cannot afford to sit idly by as businesses relocate outside the city limits. Since no amount of mayoral foot-stamping is likely to stem that tide, agreements of this sort are welcome.

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