Oxnard is the biggest city in the biggest county in the tri-county region.
It has a pro-business attitude, plenty of land and utility resources, a large and eager workforce and a desire to lead the state’s economic recovery.
But that apparently means nothing in Sacramento, where the California Enterprise Zone Program recently turned down Oxnard’s request to join 41 other enterprise-zone locations in the state.
Instead, the bureaucrats chose politically correct locations such as Hesperia, Taft, Tulare, Pittsburg and — fancy that — Sacramento itself. No reasons were given for the decision, but we understand Oxnard Economic Development chief Steve Kinney will be headed north in the coming weeks to get more details.
In case you have not heard about Enterprise Zones, they’re proven tools for growing new jobs. They are supported by the California Chamber of Commerce and many other organizations, including the Ventura County Economic Development Association.
These designated areas provide a number of benefits to companies seeking to locate or expand in E-Zone locations. The benefits include tax credits for hiring workers, equipment purchase tax credits, preference points in competing for state contracts and other incentives to help businesses grow and cities expand their tax rolls over time.
But they continue to generate criticism on the far left and far right, and efforts to gut the current program were partially successful in the current budget talks when some tax breaks were given a two-year expiration deadline.
This editorial has two purposes.
First, to urge the California EZ Program to reconsider Oxnard in the next round of approval for the enterprise zone authorization.
Second, to urge the state legislature to fully fund California’s enterprise zones in the upcoming budget negotiations.
These incentives are absolutely crucial if Oxnard and the Tri-Counties are going to succeed in making an economic recovery that’s more dependent on well-paying technology and manufacturing jobs, expecially jobs in the new energy economy.