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Salinas Paper in Favor of EZ Expansion

The Californian in Salinas Valley editorializes in favor of the proposed Enterprise Zone expansion:

Salinas, Greenfield and other south Monterey County cities lining up to take action are doing the right thing by approving expansion of the Salinas Valley Enterprise Zone.

By doing so, they are sending a message loudly and clearly that we welcome businesses to set up shop in our communities.

Expanding the enterprise zone to include the Castroville Industrial Park and the 70 businesses already operating there will add to the business-friendly climate already being established from Salinas to King City. Some of the Castroville employers include Granny Goose Foods Inc., Wiley Transfer & Storage, Pure Water and Ocean Mist Farms.

Following a collective thumbs-up from the participating cities, the zone expansion requires approval from the state.

The Salinas Valley Enterprise Zone was created in January 2009, one of 42 economically depressed regions statewide offering tax credits and other incentives to businesses that agree to operate locally. The local zone takes in Salinas, Gonzales, Soledad, Greenfield, King City and parts of unincorporated Monterey County.

The goal, of course, is job creation. The Salinas Valley has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state. So every opportunity to encourage more employers to relocate to this enterprise zone should be pursued.

As for bringing in Castroville’s industrial park, zone officials acknowledge that industrial businesses don’t produce a lot of revenue, per se, but they can be stable employers that hire a lot of people and tend to pay higher wages than retailers. And even if an industrial enterprise doesn’t settle in Salinas, it’s likely to include Salinas workers and those from other cities in the enterprise zone as part of its work force. Expanding the local enterprise zone to attract industrial employers represents a logical next step in the economic development playbook for Salinas and its neighbors.

The enterprise zone’s big picture shows that creating jobs is crucial to creating a vibrant community where neighborhoods and families can recover from the economic downturn, become self-sufficient, revitalized and then can flourish.

Business growth is vital to strengthening the local economy. If entrepreneurs like what they see in incentives for investment, small-business development and expansion and a trainable work force, they will come. Business growth generates revenue for public improvements that raise the quality of life in communities such as Salinas, where streets should be safe to walk, the air and water are clean, housing costs are stable and within reach, and social and public services are ample and available to all citizens. Business growth and the jobs it brings with it can help Salinas and its neighbors to be the kind of community that is a source of strength, pride and hope to their residents.

Welcome the expansion of the Salinas Valley Enterprise Zone and the potential for growth and prosperity it represents.

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