City and County Partnership Helps Local Companies and Job Seekers
08/20/2010

Thousands of additional job seekers in Fresno are now covered by a program providing tax incentives to businesses that hire them. Working together, the City and County of Fresno have successfully expanded Targeted Employment Areas (TEA) to include previously ineligible homes and apartments. The change improves the job prospects for unemployed or underemployed residents locally and increases the number of eligible workers for businesses located in City and County Enterprise Zones.

The City of Fresno was awarded its Enterprise Zone designation in 1986. Businesses located in an Enterprise Zone are able to take advantage of significant State tax credits designed to make doing business in California more affordable. The most lucrative is the Enterprise Zone Hiring Tax Credit which allows Enterprise Zone businesses to receive a tax benefit of up to $37,000 for each qualified employee hired.

Due to a technicality, residence addresses in TEA census tracts falling partially within the jurisdiction of another municipality were excluded from eligibility. This meant that a significant number of households, which otherwise would have qualified, were left without TEA designation. As a result, Enterprise Zone businesses had no financial incentive to hire individuals residing in these areas.

Working together, City of Fresno Incentive Zone Manager Kelly Trevino and Fresno County Economic Development Coordinator Jeanette Ishii successfully petitioned the State of California to allow the inclusion of these previously ineligible census tract addresses into the County of Fresno TEA.

“This successful partnership is another significant step in the effort to bringing unemployment numbers down in Fresno.” said Craig Scharton, City of Fresno Downtown and Community Revitalization Director. “It helps qualified applicants market themselves better in this highly competitive environment while encouraging businesses to reinvest in themselves and the community. It’s definitely a win-win for all involved,” Scharton said.

Ms. Ishii added that this the partnership effort demonstrates that “the City and County are working together to maximize the utilization of our Enterprise Zones and to create jobs.”

More information will be available at the 2010 Incentive Zone Resource Fair, being held on Tuesday, August 24 at Fresno City Hall from 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Admission is free. Last year, nearly 500 businesses in the City of Fresno took advantage of the benefits of the Enterprise Zone resulting in over $260 million in potential tax credits. For additional information, including an agenda for the event, visit www.fresnoez.com or call (559) 621-8426.

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