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Assemblyman Paul Cook: “Mark my words, many businesses are going to look at this [Enterprise Zone] proposal and decide to leave the Inland Empire for a better business climate.”

Assemblyman Paul Cook posted the following editorial on his website:

Governor Jerry Brown’s latest budget proposal will punish hard-working Californians, especially small business owners trying to get by in a struggling economy. His proposal to “reform” Enterprise Zones is one such element. It raises taxes on businesses under the false banner of reform, and that is unacceptable to me. Enterprise Zones serve economically distressed areas by providing lower levels of taxation for businesses, stimulating investment and job creation. The Governor’s proposal would impose a retroactive tax increase on thousands of California businesses and curtail tax credits for certain rehires. Our region cannot afford to lose businesses and jobs. We need to fight to maintain our Enterprise Zones.

California government needs to tighten its belt, but it ought to come from fixing flaws in the budget that favor welfare programs over our schools or keeping felons locked up. It should not come from raising taxes and punishing American entrepreneurs.

I am committed to working with the Governor and my colleagues in the Legislature, but I have never voted for a tax increase during my time in the California State Assembly, and I’m not going to start now. The Governor’s Enterprise Zone “reform” is a tax increase. Many businesses moved into Enterprise Zones in the Inland Empire based on promised tax relief from the state. Now, the state wants to punish those businesses whose only crime is surviving and keeping Californians working during this economic downturn, thanks in large part to the Enterprise Zone program.

The Governor’s plan will harm the very people it was designed to help. Willie Galvan of the American GI Forum of California stated, “Veterans and disabled people will be hurt by the Governor’s new plan because it repeals the Enterprise Zone tax credits companies receive for employing them and other disadvantaged workers.”

Bill LaMarr of the Small Business Alliance stated, “Small businesses are already burdened by California’s higher taxes and fees. The Governor’s new plan would increase those fees even more.”

This proposal does not help our veterans or our economy. This will result in lost job opportunities for the people who need the program most. Mark my words, many businesses are going to look at this proposal and decide to leave the Inland Empire for a better business climate.

We’ve seen a recent increase in tax revenue at the state level, which means our economy is starting to get back on track. I still think the best way to solve the budget is to encourage the economy, rather than punish California businesses by raising taxes. There is no need to raise taxes to fix the budget deficit, and there is no place for tax gimmicks like the Governor’s Enterprise Zone proposal.

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