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CAEZ Update

I just returned from an intense three day CAEZ meeting in Sacramento. Most of the time was spent setting the agenda for the coming year, but we also managed to get some substantive updates on what’s happening in the Capitol.

Frank Luera provided the HCD update and fielded a lot of questions. Foremost on peoples’ minds was when and where will they be conducting training sessions on vouchering using the new regulations. The tentative dates are currently 2/22/07 in Sacramento and 3/1/07 somewhere in Southern California. There was some discussion as to whether these sessions would be open to all or just the zone managers. I tried to make the case that it would be more beneficial for the sessions to be open and cooperative between those preparing voucher applications and those processing voucher applications and it seems there was some support for that idea. Keep an eye on the HCD website (and right here on EZ Policy Blog) for a final announcement of the meetings. He expects to have that posted within a week. In the mean time they are still working on the new voucher application forms.

Believe it or not, it is just about time for new Enterprise Zone applications to go out. The next group of zone expirations are early 2008 and in order to have new zones designated by then the application process has to start soon. The application season should begin in March or April with deadlines for completion sometime in September or October.

On the legislative front, Toni Symonds, the Chief Consultant to the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy, ran through the list of things being discussed in the Legislature. There is interest in making adjustments to the eligibility criteria required for new EZ designation, adding an net interest deduction incentive to LAMBRAs, and perhaps even reevaluating EZ incentives more generally. She thought that we might expect to see another hearing held by the committee and that it promises to be an active legislative session for Enterprise Zones.

Good news for those in the process of applying for a new EZ: Mark Stivers, consultant for the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee is working on a bill to remove the requirement of an environmental impact report (the dreaded EIR) from the process and reported that he had made some important progress.

If you have any specific questions that I haven’t covered here, email me, I’ll probably get back to you: max@ezpolicyblog.com.

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