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Ethnic Chambers Issue Joint Letter to Governor in Support of Enterprise Zones

The CALASIAN, California Hispanic, and The California Black Chambers of Commerce have sent a joint letter to Governor Brown expressing serious concerns with his plan to eliminate the Enterprise Zone program. Here is a copy of the letter, and below is the text of that letter:

June 18, 2013

The Honorable Jerry Brown
State of California
State Capitol
Sacramento, California 95814

Dear Governor Brown:

Our organizations represent thousands of small and medium-sized businesses across California. We write today – as one voice – representing minority business owners who are concerned with your recent efforts to eliminate the state’s successful Enterprise Zone program and replace it with a new, untested program.

As you can only imagine, our collective memberships are nervous of Sacramento promises. While we are very interested in your efforts to spur additional economic growth in California, our members lack the needed information on your plan. Much of the language included in your proposed legislation is vague and raises red flags for the thousands of minority-owned businesses in our state. Most notably, you propose to eliminate retail establishments such as restaurants, department stores and grocery markets from qualified businesses eligible for the proposed tax credits. We are also unaware of the qualified Census Tracts that will make up the areas eligible for your proposed credits.

All of our organizations are involved with workforce development and retention so naturally we want to see more effort dedicated to putting California’s minority populations back to work. Under the existing Enterprise Zone program, employees qualify for the program in 13 different categories from Long-Term Unemployed to CalWORKS recipients. Under your proposed legislation these categories shrink to three, which disproportionately affects our communities.

This unease is why we write to ask that you clarify what your proposed economic development program does for minority-owned business across the state. In our view, instead of doing away with the last local development tool left to communities, we should work to reform and improve Enterprise Zones so that our members can continue to lead California’s economic recovery. We look forward to your response

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