Supervisors Urge Governor, State Officials to Support Enterprise Zone Program
RIVERSIDE – The Riverside County Board of Supervisors today urged state officials to support California’s Enterprise Zone program and to not enact sweeping regulatory changes that would increase costs to businesses that hire workers in communities with high rates of poverty and unemployment.
“This program is an economic stimulator that has created more than 2,200 local jobs in the last three years,” said Supervisor John J. Benoit, a member of the Coachella Valley Enterprise Zone Authority. “California cannot afford to do away with this economic development tool and lose businesses and jobs to states that provide a more business-friendly environment.”
Chairman Benoit authored the resolution, which was passed unanimously, 5-0, in support of the business incentive program that offers hiring credits, sales and use tax credits and a few more reasonable benefits to employers located in one of 40 enterprise zones.
The 56-square-mile Coachella Valley Enterprise Zone Authority (CVEZA) is Riverside County’s only designated Enterprise Zone, spanning the cities of Coachella and Indio and communities of Mecca, Thermal and Thousand Palms. Over the past three years, the CVEZA has issued 6,549 hiring credit vouchers with local businesses reporting 2,247 of those as new positions.
“I am encouraged that Riverside County and its economic development staff continue to support the Enterprise Zone program,” said Mark Weber, zone manager for CVEZA. “The Enterprise Zone is important to economic development, capital investment, job creation and job retention in our community.”
In 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown proposed the elimination of all enterprise zone tax incentives. The elimination plan was abandoned in the governor’s May 2011 budget revision because he could not get the support of two-thirds of the Legislature.
Following the November 2012 election that produced supermajorities in both chambers of the Legislature, the governor then directed the California Department of Housing and Community Development to initiate sweeping regulatory changes to the Enterprise Zone program. If enacted, these changes will dramatically impact local agencies that administer the program and increase costs to businesses struggling to expand or simply keep their doors open.
Copies of the supervisors’ resolution will be sent to Gov. Brown, the California Department of Housing and Community Development and Riverside County’s state legislative delegation.