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Gov Keeps Talking About Enterprise Zones

After appearing with Mayor Villaraigosa in Los Angeles Yesterday, the Governor spoke at the Summit on the Advanced Transportation Industry and repeated his admiration for the expansion of the East L.A. EZ. The video and transcript are available on the Governor’s website here.

There were some very interesting comments about the Enterprise Zone program made at the Los Angeles event. The following transcripts are taken from the video of the event (the video is on the Governor’s web page, or archived here):

Governor Schwarzenegger said:

I want to thank also, of course, the company, Baxter, for keeping the company here and eventually expanding the company. So this is great, great news, so let’s give the company also a big hand for their decision. (Applause)

And I also again want to say thank you to the mayor and to the deputy mayor for getting involved. And we are celebrating also here today not only to have this company stay here but of the great team effort.

Because let me tell you something, that when this company decided — whenever there is a downturn economically you have to go and start looking at where can you save money. That’s a natural thing. The state of California is doing it, businesses are doing it not only in California but all over the world. And so it was very important for this company to look at how can we do business cheaper? And one of the things that comes to your mind right away is, let’s look at other states, what they have to offer in tax incentives, how expensive is it to do business there.

And this is when the mayor and the deputy mayor jumped into action and said, “Wait a minute. Before you even start thinking about moving out of the state and making all these people lose their jobs, let’s go and get creative. Maybe we should expand the East Los Angeles Enterprise Zone and therefore create extra tax incentives for you.”

And this is when they got in touch with the state of California but then it was bogged down by red tape, as it usually does in government. But this is why it is important that we appoint people and we have special offices, like you have an Office of Economic Development; so did we, we created an Office of Economic Development. And when you got bogged down with red tape they got in touch with the Economic Development Office of the Governor and within no time we took care of everything so we can expand the East Los Angeles Enterprise Zone.

And this is why this company is now staying here. And I think this is a very important move, that the local government and the state government worked together and showed great partnership. And as you can also see, I’m a Republican, he’s a Democrat. There are Democrats and Republicans here. We all worked together because we don’t care about the party; we care about one thing, to serve the people and to serve you, the workers, to keep the jobs here and to help businesses. That is the important thing for California and for Los Angeles. (Applause)

Mayor Villaraigosa said:

Since last February our office has been meeting with Baxter to figure out what we could do to keep their company here and the vital jobs that they’ve created here. We listened to the employees of Baxter and learned how to develop and implement policies that will attract and retain businesses as well as create good-paying jobs right here in L.A.

And then we started to work hard to actually get it done. In fact, one particularly smart, business-savvy policy, the approval of Los Angeles’s State Enterprise Zone, directly contributed to Baxter’s decision to stay. When the East Side Enterprise Zone was expanded to include Baxter BioScience, the company was able to lower its operating costs with their newfound eligibility for special tax credits. And this is happening to other companies as well throughout the entire city.

And so I want to acknowledge the Governor again, because there are some people in this state that want to mess with those tax credits and with that enterprise zone. They want to change the formulas, they want to redirect the funds. And here in L.A. we are going to say to them, we want you to work with us to create jobs so the state can have revenue — the state of California can have revenues — see, I say California. So the state of California can have revenues and so our city can have jobs.

And as we’ve aggressively expanded our enterprise zones we’ve gained the remarkable distinction of having the most acreage in the state with enterprise zone designation. And the bottom line here is that Baxter is just one example. It’s impossible to know how many other companies have decided to stay in L.A. and hire more people because of the tax credits and deductions they gained from being in a special economic zone. Their success story frames the mantra of the newly refocused Office of Economic and Business Policy and that mantra is “Deadlines, not headlines.”

Joy Amundson, President of Baxter BioScience said:

You know, we recognize the importance of nurturing a vibrant business community and appreciate the value in retaining and creating jobs in L.A. Were it not for the approval of the State Enterprise Zone we would not have been able to undertake the renovation in which we are now going to engage. We are committed to continuing playing a major role in elevating biotechnology in the state of California, this great state of California.

Baxter’s continued presence means providing hundreds of jobs and millions of tax revenue for the state of California. Continuing full operations in this L.A. facility represents our strong and continued investment in the city of Los Angeles and the state of California. It positions Baxter well to provide a meaningful number of jobs and preserves a good portion of Baxter’s over $25 million in California tax payments. Baxter is very pleased and honored to call California home. (Applause)

I’ve got to make a special call out to the councilmen who made this possible but especially Austin Beutner, first deputy mayor. Many of you know him as the “Job Czar.” He brings real business experience — real business experience. He knows the importance of jobs and he knows the importance of what jobs can do for a community and what communities can do for a city and what a city can do for a state. We are hailing this investment today thanks to the support of Austin and his team in expanding this enterprise zone.

Councilman Richard Alarcon said:

Let me say that politics at the local level are very different than politics at the state level. Councilman Smith, who is joining me in introducing the Business Tax Holiday motion, is my polar opposite. I’m a liberal Democrat and I’m very proud of that. But I’m also a huge champion of enterprise zones. In fact, when Austin Beutner approached us, I said, “Look, if you can get Greg and I to agree on it, it’s a done deal. Everybody else is going to fall in between.”

But the reason I support enterprise zone credits is because I’ve seen them work. When the General Motors plant was shuttered it was the enterprise zone credits that created hundreds and hundreds of jobs because businesses wanted to use those credits. Just in the last several months 83 businesses have used those enterprise zone credits just in my district. And I can tell you that it’s an incredible thing. Governor, if you need any help to advocate on behalf of enterprise zone credits, know that you have a friend in L.A., because they work.

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