Revolving loan fund (RLF):
A local loan fund that is usually controlled by a quasi-public
or nonprofit organization involved in local economic development.
Often initially capitalized through federal or state grants,
RLFs are used to provide low-cost financing to local businesses.
Once existing capital is loaned out, subsequent loan repayments
are then "revolved" to other businesses.
State or federal low-interest loans: Programs that
provide below-market rate loans to businesses or intermediary
organizations. Most states offer several different programs,
each targeted differently. At the federal level, the most
visible programs are offered by the Economic Development Administration,
the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Small Business
Administration (SBA). In some cases (notably the SBA), programs
do not make direct loans to businesses, but instead guarantee
loans made by commercial banks.
Tax credit/tax abatement: Both are tools that forgive
or relieve businesses of certain tax obligations they would
otherwise have to pay. Tax credits are applied against a business's
existing tax obligations. States often provide the bulk of
tax credits and, depending on the state or city, can include
income, property and even sales taxes. Tax abatements are
typically used locally to forgive tax obligations outright
(usually property taxes).
Tax increment financing (TIF): A tool that redirects
a portion of a business's property taxes to the benefit of
the business. As the property value increases for a TIF-designated
business, the taxes generated by this value "increment" go
toward paying the debt incurred for capital (property) improvements
made to the area where a business is located, rather than
having it go to the general funds of various taxing authorities
like cities and school districts.
Technical assistance: Hands-on staffing that helps
a business with a variety of tasks. Can include everything
from referral services, to management consulting, to help
in applying for loans or other assistance.
Workforce training: Assistance designed to improve
the skills of a company's existing workforce or an incoming
workforce. Can include a wide variety of skill training, from
computer and other technical training, to English as a second
language, to managerial training.
Write-downs: A loose term used to describe agreements
where the local community assumes a portion of a business's
cost obligations, or otherwise artificially lowers the cost,
to make an expansion or relocation more affordable to the
business. These costs are typically covered by either grants
or cost forgiveness agreements, and often involve such things
as land, buildings, leases and utilities.