Riebeling Defends Incentives Amid Grumbling Over HCA

Some in the Metro Council are grumbling about the fairness of tax incentives, used to recruit new businesses to Nashville. Their Exhibit A: tens of millions in tax breaks approved last night for HCA to locate facilities and jobs in midtown.

Metro Councilman Josh Stites says he’d prefer the city not be in the business of doling out tax breaks. If it must, Stites says it should be simple: the more jobs you create, the more incentives you get.

Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling argues it’s not so easy. Riebeling defends the HCA deal, which represents a thousand jobs, although some are just relocations from within the area.

“You have to look at every potential transaction uniquely, what are the pros and cons, what should you do? There’s not a formula you can just plug in and push a button and say they get x, y, z. So I think you have to look at the totality.”

Riebeling says his office is willing to work with Stites, who expects to offer a proposal early next year to make such incentives more accessible to small businesses.

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