What’s wrong with California’s enterprise zone (EZ) program? In today’s Orange County Register, California Labor Federation leader Art Pulaski lays it out. And it’s a long and ugly list.
In an op-ed titled “Enterprise Zone Boondoggle,” Pulaski blasts the EZ program as a “bloated mess of wasteful government spending” that’s costing taxpayers more than $700 million a year without creating new jobs:
While the state has made significant jobs gains in the last few years, we're still far short of full employment. Our high unemployment rate is bad news for businesses and the millions of workers who are still searching for a job. There's no question that government bears some responsibility to improve the jobs climate. Investments in infrastructure, technology and education make California more attractive to business growth and job creation.
Tax credits can also make California more competitive, if done properly. But when a wasteful government program like enterprise zones picks winners and losers, takes money out of our schools, encourages low-wage hires over middle-class jobs and does nothing to provide incentive to create new jobs, we call that a boondoggle. And it's a boondoggle at taxpayer expense.
Taxpayers are sick of seeing our money wasted on ineffective programs like EZs. Our schools need teachers and textbooks. Our roads and bridges need repair. Workers need good, middle-class jobs. What we don’t need is a boondoggle that encourages the waste of taxpayer dollars while subsidizing mega-corporations like Walmart and Fed Ex. What we don’t need is a harmful program that encourages companies to dump good, middle-class jobs, move to another part of the state, and hire the same positions at low wages.
We call it the corporate gravy train. And it’s time for it to end.
State Sen. Jerry Hill has introduced commonsense reforms to the EZ program that will put it back on track. SB 434 would make EZs transparent and accountable. The principle is simple: Every corporate tax break must be put to the “jobs test.” If the program doesn't create good, new jobs, then it's time to reform or eliminate it. Period.
Already, the greedy corporate backers are running a disinformation campaign to stop these meaningful reforms. We must stop THEM. Sign the pledge at www.endthecorporategravytrain.com today. Let’s send Corporate America a message that we’re tired of seeing our hard-earned tax dollars lining thepockets of greedy CEOs. It’s about time they pay their fair share like the rest of us!