California’s newspaper editorial pages rarely agree on anything, but when it comes to the state’s broken enterprise zone program, the consensus is clear: it’s time to scrap it and re-direct taxpayer dollars to real job creation programs.
As the state legislature prepares to vote this week on the governor’s plan to flip enterprise zones into good jobs that help build the middle class, here’s what leading newspapers are saying:
There are a lot of good ideas that, in practice, fail to become good programs. The state's enterprise zones have been one of them. Instead of helping struggling businesses keep their doors open, the tax credits — amounting to about $4 billion since 1984 — have been largely claimed by huge corporations with assets of $10 million or more rather than smaller businesses more in need of assistance.
California taxpayers should not be expected to subsidize card rooms and strip joints, legal though these businesses are… The question for legislators is simple: Will they make thoughtful changes to help businesses provide good jobs to people in need, or will they buckle to an interest group and maintain a truly dumb tax break?
The naked truth, according to a raft of academic studies, is that there's no evidence that enterprise zones accomplish their stated goals — promoting economic and employment growth in blighted areas.
California’s desire to attract businesses and create jobs does not justify continuing a flawed, expensive tax break. The Legislature should not waste time trying to fix the state’s poorly performing enterprise zone program. Instead, legislators should junk this dubious tax break and look for more effective ways of boosting employment and commerce.
Reforms proposed for enterprise zones are practical and fall in line with Brown's efforts to streamline state government. Overhauling the bureaucracy while protecting benefits for those who truly need assistance is a sound plan. Lawmakers should give it their full support.
The special interest lobbyists backing the wasteful enterprise zone program are out in full force this week, fighting Gov. Brown's common-sense reforms in order to protect thier cash cow.