National paper looks at Memphis tax incentives for companies

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Wall Street Journal focused its attention on Memphis' tax incentives for companies in an article called "Elvis and a Big Hunk of Tax Breaks."

The article examined the expansion of Graceland, which includes a new hotel and entertainment complex, and why some are not thrilled with the $79 million in local and state tax breaks that come with it.

The Wall Street Journal wrote that these incentives are the latest in a string of tax breaks handed out by the city to companies such as Electrolux, International Paper and Ikea to spark economic growth in Memphis.

The article questions whether they are a giveaway to private businesses, which don't share the risks, and those abatements meant Shelby County didn't collect the $48 million in property taxes last year it would have been entitled to. It said critics are saying the city needs to hit the pause button on the incentives.

But the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce disagrees.

Mark Herbison, the senior vice president of economic development of the Greater Memphis Chamber sent the following statement to WREG on Tuesday:

"The Wall Street Journal neglected to tell the whole story. In Memphis, pilots have generated $568 million and produced 6,998 number of jobs since 2011. The Pilot process is much more regulated here than our competitive cities and there are fewer number of projects here than our competitors. Pilots grow our economy."