Imperial County Wins State Enterprise Zone

Tax incentives will create jobs for local residents

SACRAMENTO—Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia (R–Cathedral City) announced today that the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) selected Imperial County as one of three areas in the state for a new Enterprise Zone. The designation is contingent upon completion of a final application and an environmental impact report. The winning application submitted by the City of Brawley calls for a regional approach to job development in the economically distressed county.

An Enterprise Zone (EZ) designation helps to recruit manufacturing and industrial jobs to an area by offering companies tax breaks on wages paid and machinery purchased.

Several thousand jobs are expected to be created to help the County diversify its economy and strengthen year round employment opportunities. Imperial County has the highest unemployment rate in the state, with numbers regularly hovering between 16 and 22%.

Garcia said, “Team work and sheer perseverance have paid off for our district. After the Legislature repeatedly refused to create new Enterprise Zones as authorized by law, Governor Schwarzenegger pushed his administration to release a Request for Proposals. I am grateful that our Governor has kept his promise of creating more jobs for Californians. Families across our valley will soon be benefiting from good paying jobs that will move them from the unemployment line and towards financial stability.”

For several months, Garcia and her staff worked directly with the HCD, The Brawley Economic Development Commission, The City of Brawley and the County of Imperial to draft an application that clearly spelled out the goals and objectives. When submitted last summer, it competed against eight other jurisdictions.

Garcia concluded by saying, “The businesses, government officials and community leaders all came together as stakeholders to develop a winning strategy. In my discussions with HCD staff, this was one of the aspects of the application that stood out. I am extremely proud of what we accomplished together and am looking forward to ribbon-cutting ceremonies in the near future.”

The City of Brawly used its designation as a Manufacturing Enhancement Area (MEA) to draw a beef plant to the region. The new Enterprise Zone will help the city and county move forward on business development projects that have already expressed strong interest in the Imperial Valley.