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San Diego Union Tribune Questions Colin Parent on Enterprise Zone Regulations

The architect of HCD’s recent regulatory proposal, Colin Parent, left the department to take a new position with the City of San Diego. The San Diego Union Tribune recently interviewed Parent in his new capacity as Policy Director of the San Diego Housing Commission and included a question about his previous involvement in Enterprise Zones. His response is interesting for those of us constantly trying to read tea leaves on these issues:

Q: While at the Department of Housing and Community Development, you dealt with enterprise zones and Brown’s reforms. Some program supporters worry that the proposed changes will be counterproductive. What’s your view?

A: It’s very difficult not to see these as very reasonable closures of really inappropriate loopholes in the program. The changes eliminate retroactive vouchers. You could get a tax credit for an employee you hired nine years in the past (and is no longer working for you).

But the reforms also expand the availability of vouchers for employers who hire veterans and recipients of public assistance. People with apocalyptic visions about the program should take a look at the governor’s budget, which shows it’s going to save $50 million a year out of a $700 million program. So, it’s not going away. This is just going to get rid of some of the big and obvious abuses.

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