Business Expands in Panama City - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Business Expands in Panama City

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Panama City, Fla. -

Bay County is welcoming a new company to its business community. The Economic Development Alliance announced Friday, the location of a new life sciences company.

In just a few months the empty and bare building, HealthSouth once occupied will transformed into an independent laboratory that processes and diagnoses patient tissue specimens.

"Of all the companies we're working, this is one the great projects." EDA Executive Director Neal Wade says. GPD Pathology is projected to hire 83 employees over three years, with an average annual wage of $68,000.

"Those are the kind of companies the state wants to incentivize and Bay County wants to incentivize." Wade says.

The EDA says they worked with the GPD's owner to secure a tax refund available to them. The plan is performance based and is only awarded until jobs are created and maintained.

"Once I found out I was getting that tax rebate, it would offset of a higher tax rate, it really was a no brainer at that point." Dr. Jon Ward says.

Ward, a familiar face to the community by the way of Gulf Coast Dermatology says the incentives sealed the deal. Like other business owners, he's eying the corporate tax rate plans proposed by both presidential candidates.

"Businesses use their corporate profits to reinvest and grow their business and hire people." Ward adds.

According to Governor Romney's website he plans to lower the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%, while President Obama says he'll lower it to 28%.

Wade says although the county is seeing good project activity at this time, he suggests many are sitting on their money until the election.