On June 7th, the Latino Legislative Caucus sent a letter to Governor Brown arguing the importance of the Enterprise Zone program and the necessity to examine reforms in the Legislature, not as part of the budget process. Here is a copy of the letter, the the following is the full text:
June 7, 2013
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.
State of California
State Capitol, First Floor
Sacramento CA 95814
Dear Governor Brown:
We the undersigned are writing to request that the discussion on reforms to the California Enterprise Zone program (hereinafter EZ) take place in the legislative forum. Although we agree that the EZ program, established almost 3D years ago to create jobs and stimulate business investment in economically disadvantaged areas of the state, needs refinement, not allowing this important discussion to take place through the legislative process undermines transparency and public participation. Since the 42 EZ’s were formed, many businesses in these zones throughout the state have been able to effectively compete for new or retain existing business. Conversely, many disadvantaged communities and individuals have benefitted as a function of businesses thriving due to the incentives provided by the program.
The Latino Caucus is strongly committed to ensuring that EZs continue to benefit Californians by creating public policy that optimizes the taking of the credit, such as requiring incentives be contingent on net new jobs. Most of the EZs are located in areas with high unemployment rates and with large Latino populations, e.g., Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Fresno, San Joaquin, Eureka, to name a few. We understand the need to improve the EZ program and want to continue to work with you to accomplish that goal; however, we request this discussion take place in the legislative venue to give California residents and businesses the opportunity to participate in the process.
The proposals to change the EZ program have been modified several times and significantly since January 2013 – first in February and then again on May 15th The proposal before the Legislature today was first revealed in the May Revise, with few details. Information has been released since then, but we still don’t have the proposal in whole, e.g., GO-Biz details and hiring credit zones. To make such significant changes to a 3D-year old program absent a public venue, we cannot ensure adequate opportunity to receive input from the public, businesses, and community leaders in a meaningful way.
We are hearing from our constituencies, leaders, employees and businesses alike, that the elimination of the EZ program as we know it will potentially devastate our communities. Businesses will be forced to lay off employees and/or go out of business, increasing poverty and unemployment in communities with already high rates. The Golden State is recovering from a long recession. We cannot afford to terminate this jobs program without ensuring that jobs themselves will not suffer and the businesses which create them will continue to thrive.
We respectfully ask for your support to shift EZ reform discussions to the Legislature. We look forward to working with you on reforms to the program that will revitalize economically depressed areas and attract business into our great State.
Ricardo Lara, Senator, 33rd District, Chair, CA Latino Legislative Caucus
V. Manuel Perez, Assembly Member, 56th District, Vice Chair, CA Latino Legislative Caucus
Nora Campos, Assembly Member, 27th District
Anthony Rendon, Assembly Member, 63rd District,
Ben Hueso, Senator, 40th District
Lou Correa, Senator, 34th District
Raul Bocanegra, Assembly Member, 39th District