Future of California EZ Program Still in Question

The California enterprise zone has survived round one of the state’s budget bout unchanged. While survival is better than what Governor Jerry Brown has pushed for, it is not what the program’s most informed supporters are advocating.
A recent update from the California Association of Enterprise Zones (CAEZ) president Craig Johnson illustrates my point.

“AB 231 (Manuel Perez, D-Indio), which included EZ reform and budget compromise language, is not moving forward this year as a budget compromise vehicle, as budget negotiations remain at a standstill. This means that as of this writing, we still don’t know how the budget is going to be finalized and what will be happening with the EZ program. However, EZ reform may continue to be discussed and CAEZ will be at the forefront of those discussions. What we do know, is that Enterprise Zones are still at risk.”

Since the budget debate has not produce satisfying results for anyone so far, Governor Brown’s office is expected to release a revised budget proposal within the next two weeks. Expectations are that he will continue to insist upon elimination of the enterprise zone program.
As a tax revision, any of the proposed changes to the program (including elimination) would require two-thirds majority votes in the state legislature. When the issue was last making news, a number of important Democratic state legislators had already made their positions known – that they would NOT support elimination of the enterprise zone program.
On the other side of the aisle, the California Republican Party also announced its official position urging all Republican legislators to oppose elimination.
As the Governor’s revised budget emerges this month, I expect this debate to continue.
If you do business in California and want to see the state’s business climate improve, then please send a forthright letter, fax, and even an email to Governor Brown and your legislators.  Urge them to oppose elimination and to approve reformation of the enterprise zone program. And feel welcome to contact me, Vaughn Hromiko if I can assist you with that in any way. (800-655-5281, ext 101 or vah@wotcplanet.com

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