By Steve Smith/California Labor Federation
For years, the state’s broken enterprise zone has been costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars while doing little to create new jobs. Even worse, the program was subsidizing strip clubs and giant corporations like Walmart that pay workers poverty wages and offer few, if any benefits. We called it theCorporate Gravy Train. And today, Gov. Brown put an end to this abuse of taxpayer dollars.
At a ceremony last week in San Diego, the Governor signed AB 93 and SB 90, bills that formally reform the enterprise zone program and redirect taxpayer dollars to programs that incentivize good jobs.
California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski joined the Governor in San Diego to hail these historic reforms as vital job creation measurers that, at long last, fix the wasteful enterprise zone program.
Enterprise zones didn’t create new jobs. The program actually provided a perverse incentive for companies to fire workers and destroy good jobs to move to other areas of the state and hire at minimum wage.
That’s not economic development. That’s the definition of wasteful.
We thank Gov. Brown for his courage in stopping this waste of taxpayer money. And for his leadership in putting together a package that bolsters middle-class job growth.
With the signing of today’s bills, California now has real economic development programs in place that create NEW jobs. And not just any jobs. Good jobs. Middle class jobs. Jobs that build communities and rev up our engine of economic growth.
The new laws create a three-pronged economic development program that plays to the strengths of California’s economy and offers incentives for businesses to create middle-class jobs. The new program offers targeted hiring credits to help those who need good jobs the most. It also provides a manufacturing sales tax exemption to spur growth in California’s manufacturing sector, and it creates a new fund to help spur economic development in the state.
It was a long road to reform, but eventually, with the labor movement leading the way, we got it done. As a result, California is in a much better position now to grow our economy.
The California Labor movement is proud to have fought alongside the Governor and a bipartisan group of lawmakers to secure these important victories for all working people. Our economy is finally starting to emerge from the depths of recession that’s buried families for far too long. With this economic development plan in place, California has shown our commitment to smart, strategic use of tax dollars to fuel the creation of good jobs. This is a great day for California.