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AUSTIN-The City of Austin will seek to pump business into a large chunk of East Austin with tax benefits that would be garnered through the area’s designation as a federal empowerment zone. An application to the federal department of Housing and Urban Development will soon be on its way to Washington, DC, to meet a Sept. 28 deadline.

If successful in competition with other cities, Austin could offer 10 financial and tax incentives to business that hire workers from East Austin, Roger Chen, Austin’s assistant city manager for economic development, tells GlobeSt.com. Companies located outside the zone can get benefits for hiring workers who live inside it as can businesses located within the zone.

“There are about 10 different financial and tax incentives involved,” Chen says. “And, by being selected as empowerment zone, it also heightens our ability to get other federal grants.” The boundaries of the proposed empowerment zone are Manor Road on the north, US Highway 183 on the east, Ben White Boulevard on the south and Interstate 35 on the west.

The city has worked with the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Capital City African American Chamber of Commerce and community groups to prepare the application. “We want to help the more disadvantaged parts of our city get the infrastructure and the service and the other things that they need to provide more economic opportunity and we want to see that that happens,” says Saralee Tiede, a spokeswoman for the Great Austin Chamber. “Empowerment zones offer a lot of benefits that they can take advantage of.

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