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Archive for June, 2017

Tax Incentives for Businesses in Texas

The state of Texas has the second largest GDP in the United States, and at $1.6 trillion it accounts for nearly 9 percent of the US total. A Forbes report listed the Lone Star state in fourth place along a number of crucial rankings, including Best Place for Business and Best in Business Costs. Other key metrics like business density, start-up activity, and business survival rates are also among the top 5 of all 50 states. More importantly, the state is known for its favorable tax climate, which ranked 10th in the 2016 State Business Tax Climate Index. Overall Texas spends a total of $19b per year on incentive schemes, of which $743 million are devoted to corporate rebates or reduction programs, such as the ones listed below.

Enterprise Zone Program

This program was created to promote job creation and attract private investment in designated distressed counties. The program offers businesses involved in qualifying projects a sales tax refund whose amount depends on capital investment and the number of jobs created. Total refunds go from $25,000 up to a maximum of $3.75 million.

Texas Enterprise Fund

This Fund was created in 2004 to favor the creation of high paying jobs and to promote Texas as a top destination for business. The incentive involves the award of a cash grant whose specific dollar amount varies depending on scope of the project, but can go anywhere from $194,000 to $50 million. So far, cash grants have been awarded to businesses of all sizes and sectors, from JPMorgan Chase to Tyson Foods, Jamba Juice, and Petco.

Data Center Exemption

Under this incentive scheme, exemptions are applied to use and state sale taxes (which amount to 6.25 percent) for the purchase of cooling and or electrical systems, electricity, hardware, software, peripherals, emergency generators, and any other equipment needed to operate personal property within the building. To qualify, data centers must employ a minimum of 20 people and make an initial capital investment of $200 million. Read more »



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How Much Does Facebook Use Cost The UK Economy?

The UK ranks sixth in the world in terms of its number of Facebook users. Facebook use is widespread across genders and age groups, and approximately 70 per cent of UK citizens have a Facebook account, spending on average 2.5 hours a day using this social network. The total number of active users has been steadily growing and is expected to reach 37.7 million by the end of 2017 and more than 41 million by 2021.

This popular platform is able to generate more than just social interaction, but also economic activity by reducing barriers to commerce and networking activities. However, there is a downside to Facebook use, which is often quantified in terms of productivity losses. So what is the real cost of such large-scale use of this social media platform? This article looks at various types of data to assess the economic impact of Facebook use in the United Kingdom.

Facebook Use and Workplace Productivity

In 2015, a Deloitte study evaluated the economic impact of Facebook use at global level. Researchers found in the UK, Facebook generated $11 billion (nearly £9 billion) and created 154,000 new jobs in areas like marketing, software development, and e-commerce. However, these figures were offset by other statistics that point at the negative impact of social network use. This impact is often quantified by looking at the time spent on social media platforms during what otherwise would be working hours.

Productivity decreases were reported as far back as 2007, three years after the social network was founded. In autumn 2007, the BBC reported on a survey carried out by an employment law firm, which interviewed more than 3,500 British firms and concluded that Facebook use in the workplace resulted in 233 million hours of work lost every month. Read more »



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