Economic Incentives and Support Programs for Businesses


Businesses at Port San Antonio can take advantage of a number of incentives and programs, such as fee and tax deferrals, regulatory exemptions and workforce development/business support. The following incentives and support programs are available to businesses at Port San Antonio that meet certain qualifications.

For more information, including a detailed profile of each of the incentives and programs outlined below, contact Marcel Johnson at (210) 362-7830 or marcel.johnson@portsanantonio.us.

Financing and Grants

Special Grants

As a political subdivision of the State of Texas and the site of a former Air Force base, Port San Antonio is able to pursue state and federal government grants, such as those offered by the Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant Program (DEAAG) and the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), to help improve and expand facilities of Port customers who are adding new jobs to the region.

South Texas Business Fund Loan

City-sponsored lending program providing qualifying small- to medium-sized businesses with intermediate and long-term loans at below market rates for real estate acquisition, construction, capital improvements, machinery, equipment, working capital and related soft costs such as appraisals.

Industrial Development Authority (IDA) Bonds Financing

Bonds carrying a below-market interest rate are available through the City of San Antonio Industrial Development Authority. These tax-exempt revenue bonds can be issued for new construction, building improvements and the purchase of machinery and equipment. Taxable bonds are available for larger projects with costs of up to $10 million.

State Enterprise Zone Tax-Exempt Bond Financing

Qualifying businesses can finance facility development projects for up to $3 million through City-issued tax-exempt Enterprise Zone Facility bonds, which generally carry a lower interest rate than conventional financing.

Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ)

The City of San Antonio utilizes a tiered system of incentive tools, such as TIF, to revitalize inner-city neighborhoods and commercial districts within a TIRZ. Eligible types of development include residential, business parks for targeted industries, office, retail and commercial properties.

Texas Small Business Fund

Administered by the Office of the Governor, the Texas Small Business Fund provides working capital and asset based financing to stimulate the development of small and medium-sized businesses. Funding preferences are given to emerging technologies, including semiconductors, nanotechnology, biotechnology, renewable energy, agriculture and aerospace.

Texas Skills Development Fund

A special fund administered by the State of Texas Workforce Commission provides grants of up to $500,000 per business to develop customized job training programs for employees.

Texas Enterprise Fund

A state-run fund used as an incentive tool where a single Texas site is competing with another viable out-of-state option and the project has significant local support behind it from the prospective Texas community. The fund can be used for a variety of economic development projects, including infrastructure and community development, job training programs and business incentives. Funds are awarded based upon the unanimous approval of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House.

Tax, Fee and Regulatory Incentives

Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ)

The entire Port San Antonio complex is a designated Foreign-Trade Zone (#80-10), allowing Port customers to move goods arriving from abroad without being subjected to U.S. customs entries or duties while in the zone. The OpTech Group, a company based at the Port, operates an active FTZ site and offers assembly, warehousing, fulfillment and other services to customers.

More information about the Port''s Foreign-Trade Zone.

Expedited Permitting

Port San Antonio has been empowered by the City with the authority to conduct its own plan review and inspections, issue building permits and provide corresponding certificates of occupancy to its customers. The average processing time is only six business days - well below the 30 business days the permitting process normally takes - covering anywhere from small remodels to multi-million dollar building projects at the Port.

Freeport Tax Exemption

Companies at the Port can apply for city and county tax exemptions on personal business property for goods-in-transit or inventories used in the manufacturing process.

Property Tax Abatement

The City of San Antonio offers a tax abatement of up to 100 percent on real and/or personal property taxes on improvement values for up to 10 years. Target industries include aviation/aerospace; logistics and distribution; and manufacturing, among others. Abatement applications are subject to approval by city council.

State of Texas Sales and Use Tax Exemptions

  • Manufacturing machinery and equipment: Leased or purchased machinery, equipment, and accessories that have a life of more than six months used in the manufacturing, fabricating or repair of tangible personal property for sale, are exempt from state and local sales and use tax. Businesses are also exempt from state sales and use tax on labor for constructing new facilities.
  • Natural gas and electricity: Companies are exempt from paying state tax on electricity and natural gas used in manufacturing, processing or fabricating tangible personal property if at least 50 percent of the electricity or natural gas consumed by the business directly causes a physical change to a product.

State Enterprise Zone Project Designation

Port San Antonio qualifies as a State Enterprise Zone, which extends tax and regulatory incentives to attract businesses to economically distressed areas. Companies designated as enterprise projects by the state and city council are eligible for state sales and use tax refunds and franchise tax credits based on job creation and capital investment.

"Green" Building Incentives

Port San Antonio is an area leader in sustainable development, and there are several incentives available for developers who build sustainable facilities, including utility rebate programs from CPS Energy, for the installation of energy-efficient heating/cooling systems, lighting upgrades and other energy saving features.

Technical Assistance

Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) Workforce Development Program

A City of San Antonio program that helps local businesses identify government contracting opportunities, develop a business plan and sharpen marketing and bid proposal writing.

City of San Antonio Small Business Liaison

The City of San Antonio''s International and Economic Development Department''s Small Business Liaison provides support during the planning stages of starting a business through the site development and applicable regulatory processes.

Small Business Economic Development Advocacy (SBEDA) Program

Provides assistance to small, minority, African-American and woman-owned businesses in contracting with the City of San Antonio. Program benefits include a customized guide for starting a business, staff coordination with City departments, business workshops, pre-business counseling, access to computers, referrals, networking and community outreach of various business assistance programs.


For more information:

City of San Antonio Economic Development Department
(210) 207-8080 | www.sanantonio.gov/edd

City of San Antonio Development Services Department
(210) 207-0170 | www.sanantonio.gov/dsd

Office of the Governor
www.governor.state.tx.us/ecodev

Free Trade Alliance San Antonio
(210) 229-9036 | www.freetradealliance.org

Bexar County Appraisal District Personal Property Department
(210) 242-2468 | www.bcad.org

San Antonio Economic Development Foundation
(210) 226-1394 | www.sanantonioedf.com