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California's Enterprise Zones Axed?

California's Enterprise Zone program was established in 1984 to stimulate business investment in depressed areas of the State and create job opportunities for Californians. Today, businesses and workers both continue to benefit from the program.

Current legislation allows for 42 enterprise zones. Additional legislation was passed over the years to also establish one Targeted Tax Area, two Manufacturing Enhancement Areas, in addition to 7 Local Agency Military Base Recovery Area (LAMBRAs).

California communities received these designations from the State of California through a competitive process. While Zones have similar goals for improving the economic vitality of their communities, each is unique in the local incentives and special assistance they provide to the businesses located within the zone boundaries.  To see if your business is located within a designated enterprise zone visit www.fresnocountyez.com if your business is not within the City of Fresno, or the City of Fresno Incentive Zone Address Locator if your business is within the City of Fresno.

A USC study showed enterprise zones increase employment by 2%, household income by 7%, and also helped reduce poverty in the targeted zones. However, The California Budget Project, a non-profit group which advocates for low and middle class families, shows that enterprise zones place an increasing strain on the state budget and that large corporations are the biggest beneficiaries. Consequently, but not directly because of these incompatible studies there has been new legislation introduced; the two bills are:  AB 231 and AB 232.

AB 231 in its simplest form encourages businesses in an enterprise zone to hire eligible residents of certain geographic areas within a city, county, or city and county. Furthermore, AB 232 changes a number of provisions in the Government Code, including a modification of the stated purpose of the program. We suggest everyone to refer to the aforementioned links on each individual bill for explicit details of the proposed legislation.

The enterprise zone has been instrumental in aiding the local business community operating within Fresno County. If we were to examine just the hiring credit portion of the enterprise zone, of the 856 participating employers within Fresno County, representing both large and small businesses, at least 2,087 new jobs were created because of the enterprise zone.

Whether or not you were aware of the enterprise zone’s existence; or if your business never had the opportunity to reap the benefits that are still available, it is not too late. If you are a municipality you can pledge your support in favor of the enterprise zone by following the link provided and executing the resolution attachment. Moreover, if you are a local business or a part of the executive management of a local corporation please follow the link for the letter of support. Any letters should be addressed to Governor Brown’s office but delivered to us here at the EDC as we will be hand delivering them to the state. You can either email a copy to us at djones@fresnoedc.com or mail it to:

906 N Street, suite 120
Fresno, CA 93721

Also, the group Californians for Jobs and Safe Communities has created a website at which you can electronically send letters to your legislators by clicking ‘Take Action Now’.

We urge you to show your support of this incentive program for California businesses in whatever form you are comfortable with and to follow the EDC on Facebook or Twitter to receive updates on the issue.

REMINDER! Due to budget cuts, the EDC Office will be CLOSED on Fridays.

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For more information on the EDC, visit www.fresnoedc.com

 

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