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The Buzz 1/26/12

EDATE When Florida voters go to the polls Jan. 31, they will be asked to make a decision on EDATE. But, what exactly is this acronym?

“When you grab someone off the street and say ‘EDATE,’ they may be thinking you’re talking about internet dating,” said Bruce Vredenburg. “And that’s not the case.”

As chairman of the New Jobs Now! political action committee, Vredenburg is doing his best to educate people about EDATE, or the Escambia County Ad Valorem Tax Exemption referendum.

“It’s about bringing new jobs,” he explained. “About creating and keeping jobs.”

EDATE allows for county officials to grant businesses moving to their area—or expanding in the area—a pass on property taxes. Businesses are still required to pay taxes associated with the school district, Northwest Florida Water Management District and the city of Pensacola.

EDATE first arrived on the scene in the early 1990s. It has been renewed every 10 years, with the current term ending in December 2012. If voters again renew EDATE, it will go until 2022.

If granted an EDATE exemption, a business will be responsible for paying the county ad valorem tax once its predetermined EDATE period has expired. The business may only apply for another EDATE exemption if it is expanding, and it may only receive the new exemption on the expansion.

Escambia County Administrator Randy Oliver said the county isn’t really losing out on tax revenues through EDATE.

“It’s a revenue that one would argue that we’d never get,” Oliver said.