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AB 1139 In The News

This article in the Los Angeles Times about L.A. County’s Business Technology Center incubator program mentions the Enterprise Zone and “legislation [that] has been introduced that would curtail the enterprise zone program.” (The article also happens to mention a dual application between the County and the City of Huntington Park in the current round of zone applications).

The San Jose Business Journal has the most extensive article to date on the subject. Interestingly, the authors don’t seem to feel that the bill is meant to hurt the program:

Craig Johnson, president of the nonprofit California Association of Enterprise Zones, said that given other states’ courting of California companies, the recent legislation could hurt an already ailing economy.

“This is a direct attack on the enterprise zone programs,” he said. “It’s a huge job killer.”

His organization supports two other bills, AB 1159 and AB 1029. The first bill would provide tax credits in the enterprise zone for the production of renewable energy, while AB 1029 would provide credits for companies manufacturing solar energy materials, Johnson said. However, he said AB 1139 takes “a real swipe” at employers taking advantage of a program that uses part-time and seasonal workers.

“This is no small issue. We’re very concerned about this bill, at a time when we need to be working to enhance programs like the enterprise zone because we want to see growth,” he said.

Sara Ramirez, chief of staff for Assemblyman John Pérez, D-Los Angeles, said the goal is not to harm the program but to enact meaningful reforms for the employers and the employees. The assemblyman is the author of AB 1139, set to be heard in committee on April 29. “While the enterprise zone program is intended to address the competitive disadvantages faced by businesses located in communities plagued by unemployment, crime and poverty, the program’s current statutory construction fails to adequately achieve that goal,” Ramirez said. Would changes to zone help? Ramirez said in order for the program to work for employers and employees alike, it needs to be revamped to better ensure that employers benefiting from its tax breaks provide quality jobs to their employees. “This bill will incentivize employers to do just that — by rewarding employers with larger tax benefits for their full-time, benefited employees,” she said.

Of course, AB 1139 is scheduled to be heard tomorrow morning in the Assembly Jobs Committee. Live audio of the hearing should be available here.

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