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The Fight to Save The Northeast Valley Enterprise Zone

Apparently, some Los Angeles politicians are not going to take the loss of the Northeast Valley Enterprise Zone lying down. As the Los Angeles Daily News points out, this was the only zone that applied for a new designation that did not receive one. This is particularly ironic given that special consideration was made for the area earlier this year to change a rule that would have blocked the Valley’s ability to apply:

The move stunned local officials, who just three months ago persuaded Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to change state regulations in an effort to retain the Northeast Valley Enterprise Zone, which gives tax breaks to companies that create jobs.

In general it is interesting to hear the level of surprise:

Roberto Barragan, head of the Valley Economic Development Corp. that works with the program, said he was stunned.”We thought everything had been taken care of and this would be a routine approval,” Barragan said. “Today, Pacoima and the East Valley lost big-time. I’m not sure how we can recover from this type of setback.

“We thought we were fine, that everything was hunky-dory. Then the news came and I haven’t been able to catch my breath. What we have to do is take a look at this and see what we can do to make sure we don’t lose what we have and bring in more business to the San Fernando Valley.”

In any case, it looks like there is going to be some fighting coming up:

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said he will get involved.”This is a setback but I think there is opportunity over the next several weeks to correct this and make sure we continue to invest in the East San Fernando Valley,” Villaraigosa said in a statement.

“What’s important now is that we are not losing the tax credits for existing jobs and we will work to correct this.”

Councilman Alex Padilla, who also represents a portion of the area and is expected to be elected to the state Senate next week, said he is willing to introduce legislation next year to restore the enterprise zone status, if necessary.

“It’s a huge mistake on behalf of the state,” he said Friday afternoon. “The Governor’s Office couldn’t answer what, in their eyes, made this application not as competitive as the 23 areas of California that were selected.

“I’m not going to let the state off the hook.”

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