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Both Candidates in Open Senate District Support Enterprise Zones

When George Runner was elected to the State BOE, that left his 17th District Senate seat open. Sharon Runner is running as the Republican in the race against Darren Parker, Democrat. At a public debate in Santa Clarita yesterday, both candidates voiced support for the Enterprise Zone program and opposition to proposals to eliminate the program. From the Santa Clarita Valley Signal:

(Left) Sharon Runner, a Republican former assemblywoman, and Darren W. Parker, a longtime Democratic activist (Right)

“I consider tax increases as toeing the line,” he said. “I’m not in favor of tax increases. I’m in favor of good investment.”
Runner was more blunt. She said she would oppose any new state taxes.

“More taxes do not mean more jobs,” she said, emphasizing that job growth in the region is her first priority.

Parker, a Lancaster resident and small-business owner, said that in order to generate new jobs, he would advocate keeping the Santa Clarita Valley’s successful Enterprise Zone area, while pushing for the use of new technology and alternative energy sources to revitalize local infrastructure.

“There are enterprise zones in our communities that have worked. … We need to keep those (enterprise zones) and get our people off the freeway,” he said, noting that the state would need local input to determine which enterprise zones are effective enough to be maintained.

Runner also praised the SCV’s redevelopment agencies and enterprise zones, and called for more transparency to weed out “bad apple” agencies.

She said that enterprise zones and redevelopment agencies are essential to the district and the state to help support local businesses and create new jobs.

Both candidates said that they would reject any proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies and the Enterprise Zone program, which local business owners have praised due to millions of dollars through tax breaks. The tax breaks are awarded for hiring veterans, ex-offenders and other disadvantaged workers, among other criteria.

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