The Center of the California Enterprise Zone Information Universe

The 2008 Race For 8: Taft, CA

As reported in the Midway Driller, the city of Taft, CA plans to join the race:

The city of Taft is preparing to apply to be designated as a state Enterprise Zone.

The designation offers numerous benefits to companies that would locate here and could potentially be a huge boost to the local economy.

The Taft city council will vote on applying for the designation at its next regular meeting on Aug. 21.

There are currently 42 such zones in California and three in Kern County – Bakersfield, Delano and Shafter.

Although it was once believed the city itself didn’t qualify for the designation because income levels in the city are too high, city grants administrator Lucille Holt said the city could apply for the designation and use the income levels of adjacent unincorporated areas in a joint application.

Enterprise zones target economically depressed areas and revitalize them by making them more attractive to business and industry.

Enterprise zones areas become very attractive to business and industries because they get numerous incentives to relocate to the areas.

The designation offers a series of tax breaks and benefits to businesses that locate in enterprise zone ranging from state tax credits for hiring qualified workers, sales and tax use credits interest dedications and even advantages on bidding for state contracts.

According to figures provided by Holt, Enterprise Zones have a well-established record of success. Figures from 2002 show the state received a 35 percent return on its investment and about 182,000 new jobs created statewide. Employment in enterprise zones increased by 170 percent over 1992 levels and average starting salary was 33 percent over minimum wage.

Applying won’t be easy, according to a written report on the benefit of Enterprise Zone designation.

Holt said the application itself involves 150 pounds of paper and could take up to two years to complete.

For Taft, it might be a little easier. The city is already compiling numerous reports in preparation for a proposed expansion of its sphere of influence so much of the work for an enterprise zone designation is being done already.

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