Enterprise zones are key to economic development
In his thirst to take money away from local governments to solve the state’s hunger to spend, Gov. Jerry Brown is now attacking enterprise zones, key tools in the efforts to bring jobs to some of the most impoverished areas of the state like Porterville.
Last year, the governor basically eliminated redevelopment, a major tool in improving areas to attract new businesses or industries. Redevelopment freezes the property tax rate sent to the state, using any increase in property tax revenues to make infrastructure improvements in that area. There is still a question if redevelopment is dead, but it certainly has been severely reduced.
Now, the governor is targeting enterprise zones. New legislation a few years ago basically put most of Tulare County into an enterprise zone. In an enterprise zone, tax breaks are given employers who add employees in economically depressed areas. Porterville City Manager John Lollis has said several industries have expressed interest in coming to Porterville, and one of the main things attracting that interest is the enterprise zone and tax breaks that come with it.
The issue is so important to the city, that Lollis and mayor Virginia Gurrola will attend a public hearing Thursday in Sacramento to make the case to leave enterprise zones alone.
Without the enterprise zone, Porterville and many other areas of the state could lose out on new industries and new jobs for California residents.
The state is reportedly already losing businesses to other states. Within the past month the governors of Texas, South Dakota and Iowa came to California in a bid to attract businesses to leave the Golden State and bring their jobs to those states. There is a reason those governors came here — California has a reputation of not being business friendly. If the governor moves forward, that reputation will only be enhanced and not only will local areas like Porterville be hurt, but the state will see jobs go elsewhere and tax revenues decline.