The following is a press release published today by Assemblymember Luis Alejo regarding AB 484 and his view of the necessity to extend the designation of the Watsonville Enterprise Zone:
Assemblymember Alejo (D-Salinas) is authoring AB 484 to allow an expiring enterprise zone to be eligible to receive all enterprise zone benefits until the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) completes any regulatory or administrative review of the program overall.
In Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed 2012-13 budget, he indicated that legislation would be proposed to reform the enterprise zone program. In addition, HCD issued a memorandum announcing that no new zone designations would be issued until further notice, and zones that have recently received conditional designations would receive a one-time restart of their 180-month deadline to complete the final designation process.
AB 484 was introduced with the intent that businesses within an expired enterprise zone can continue to receive uninterrupted benefits until such time that regulation changes and policy reforms be determined later this year. HCD is currently working on a regulatory and administrative review of the program. Two enterprise zones will lose their designation this year. The Watsonville zone is set to expire in April and the Antelope Valley zone expired at the end of January.
“While a discussion of reforms to the Enterprise Zone program continues with all interested parties, businesses in the most depressed areas of our state need a better way to predict what program resources will be available,” states Alejo.
In 2010, the Enterprise Zone Act program created or retained more than 118,000 jobs in California. The 334 companies that participate in the Watsonville Enterprise Zone have created or retained more than 10,000 jobs over the last 15 years. Some of Watsonville’s fastest growing employers, such as Fox Racing Shox and Nordic Naturals, have used the Enterprise Zone program to expand employment and to purchase manufacturing equipment.
“The Legislature should commit to diminishing the rate of business relocation out of state and to preserve marketplace stability in order to maintain business confidence in government as the best ways to combat this era’s record unemployment rates,” says Alejo. “Other states have cash incentives to lure employers and the Enterprise Zone helps keep California competitive. Enterprise Zones provide incentives for businesses to open and/or relocate to economically distressed areas, hire local employees and help revitalize the local economy.”
Luis Alejo represents the 28th District in the California State Assembly, which consists of San Benito County, the Salinas Valley, North Monterey County, South Santa Clara County and the city of Watsonville.