We’ve grown accustomed to California’s Governor and Democrat-controlled legislature’s attempts to curtail the state’s enterprise zone program. Governor Brown’s 2010 budget proposal included provisions to completely eliminate the program. Such attempts have consistently failed in the past, while supporters of the program have furthered their own efforts to make the program more effective and accountable.
This successful trend could change in 2013, however, now that Democrats have gained a supermajority in the California legislature. California’s Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg signaled earlier this month that his party will again be looking at the state’s enterprise zone program as part of their upcoming budget discussion.
During a post swearing-in Dec. 6 news conference, state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said the program needs to be looked at as part of legislators’ upcoming budget talks. The state forgoes hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues annually for enterprise zones — an estimated $450 million in 2006, according to the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office.
If voting on party-lines, super-majority status will allow the Democrat-control California legislature and Governor’s office to pass comprehensive tax legislation without the cooperation of the Republican legislators. If Democrats line up together against the enterprise zone program, there will be little its remaining supporters can do to stop detrimental reforms or even elimination of the program. Fortunately, however, supporters of the program, do included some prominent Democrats.
We will get our first real taste of what’s to come when Governor Jerry Brown issues his budget proposal in January 2013.