SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

October 11, 2012

Our view: Tax break helps spur biotech growth in Salem

Even as Beverly city councilors were continuing their debate on the merits and scope of possible tax breaks for developers willing to help transform Rantoul Street, their counterparts in Salem were seeing their efforts in a similar vein come to fruition.

Warren Shore started his company, United States Biological Corp., in the attic of his Swampscott home. As the firm grew, he moved it to Texas, Baltimore and then, 11 years ago, to Marblehead.

Today, USBio is headquartered in a large building Shore built on Salem’s Technology Way, a move spurred at least in part by a so-called tax increment financing deal offered by Witch City officials.

The company, which has 30 employees, describes itself as “a world leader in the manufacture and distribution of antibodies and biochemicals used in research laboratories and production facilities.

Not only is Shore’s business booming, but it’s attracting similar tenants to his large building, creating a small but significant biotech center in Salem, one with the potential for growth.

“We’re now at the forefront of making Salem a logical choice for biotech companies,” Shore told reporter Tom Dalton, adding that the company expects to expand its workforce.

USBio invested $7 million in the Salem building with help from a state agency, MassDevelopment. The city chipped in with the tax increment financing deal. Under the agreement, USBio will save about $190,000 over 13 years; the city will collect more than $750,000 in new tax revenue over the same span.

The agreement is yet another example of how a break for a small business can lead to more tax revenue for the community and its citizens. It’s an example worth emulating.

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