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San Diego’s 10News on The Enterprise Zones

San Diego ABC affiliate 10 News reported on the potential fate of the Enterprise Zone program in the current budget mess.

Here is the video of the televised report:

Here is the accompanying story:

SAN DIEGO — A program that has put almost 2,000 San Diegans to work could be eliminated by the state in order to save money, 10News reported.

Alex Bratter is happy he found a job when he left the U.S. Navy, especially when so many veterans are unemployed.

“You know, they spend a year or so looking for a job and there’s just no real advantage except for the weather to be here,” said Bratter, who now programs electronics for Navy submarines for Epsilon Systems in Otay Mesa.

Epsilon received up to $37,000 in tax credits for hiring Bratter as part of the state’s Enterprise Zone program. The program credits companies for hiring veterans, recently unemployed workers or people living in low-income areas. More than 1,800 San Diegans have been hired through the program. The program also rewards businesses for operating within the “Enterprise Zone,” which includes parts of San Diego, National City, Chula Vista and San Ysidro.

Alejandra Mier y Teran of the Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce told 10News, “I mean, from $100,000 to $20,000. Really, there’s no limit.”

“We’re able to hire more people, generate more jobs and create a direct benefit into the community here in Otay Mesa,” said Dan Dufresne of Epsilon Systems.

Unfortunately, other companies may not be able to do the same because the state could eliminate the program to balance this year’s budget.

“It’s not a good idea, certainly not a good idea for Epsilon Systems and it’s not a good idea for the state in general,” said Dufresne.

E&E Enterprises in Chollas View received more than $60,000 in tax credits that allowed them to purchase new vehicles for their mechanics.

“And it was just like a jolt of income and interest and pride in our company,” said Vicki Garcia-Golden of E&E Enterprises.

If the Enterprise Zone Program goes away, millions in tax credits could be lost for local businesses and veterans like Bratter may be forced to look elsewhere for work.

“Right there, so many people would want to move away,” said Bratter.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has not included the Enterprise Zone Program in his budget cuts.

However, a bill has been introduced in the state Assembly that could diminish or eliminate the program.

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