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CAEZ Board Meeting Update

We had a very good meeting of the CAEZ board last week in Sacramento. The highlights were presentations from Team California, Toni Symonds of the Assembly Jobs Committee, and of course, Frank Luera of HCD.

Toni introduced us to an important new resource that Committee Staff developed, a white paper entitled “California’s Economic Development Programs: Meeting the Challenges of Today’s Economy.” This is a 148 page Word document (available here) that provides a summary of all of California’s economic development programs. Being an electronic document, it has the advantage of actually containing live hyperlinks to the internet resources associated with the programs.

HCD is busy. Frank reminded us that at our last board meeting in April they had promised to release the new EZ voucher application form by May 2007. Apparently, certain people involved at the legislature have asked that a questionnaire for employers be appended to the voucher application in order to obtain additional data about the program. This has been holding up the ultimate release of the form. Frank assured us that this was now his top priority and we should be seeing a final form by mid-August either with these questions or without them.

The application process for the eight EZ expirations in 2008 is well under way. Corrections and additions are still being made to the application handbook, and a FAQ on issues related to the application is under development for the HCD website. HCD is expecting to receive twice as many applications as zones available.

On that note, everyone seems highly optimistic that Senator Lowenthal’s SB 341 is headed for passage including an urgency clause that will make it effective for those applying in the current round. It is scheduled to have a hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Aug. 22 after which it would go to the Assembly floor and then to the Governor.

The memo concerning the creation of new TEAs is pending management approval at HCD and could be available with a week or two.

The next board meeting will be on Oct. 24 at the annual conference in Modesto.

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