On the Docket in Sacramento This Week: Federal Funding, Enterprise Zones

We’ve been blogging for more than a year now, and we’ve noticed that our posts listing upcoming committee hearings are particularly well-read. As a result, we hope to start blogging regularly about upcoming hearings that may be of interest. Two this week in the State Capitol in Sacramento are worth noting:

Tomorrow, March 9, the Senate Human Services Committee will tackle the issue, “Maximizing Federal Funds for Human Services.” The hearing will be held in Room 4203 from 1:30-4:30 p.m. For more background on this issue, check out our recent report, What Has the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Meant for California?

On Wednesday, March 10, the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee will take another look at the state’s Enterprise Zone Program, which provides hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks to businesses located in certain areas of the state. The hearing will begin at 1:30 in Room 3191. If you follow our work, you know that we’ve blogged extensively about the ineffectiveness of these zones and published a report on the subject back in 2006. We’re not alone; there’s a veritable chorus of enterprise zone criticism. The PPIC published a report concluding that the tax breaks don’t increase employment and actually reduce the number of businesses located within zones and report co-author David Neumark will be a featured witness at Wednesday’s hearing. The Legislative Analyst’s Office has also weighed in on enterprise zones.

As California faces another budget deficit, legislators are presented with another opportunity to review, scale back, or eliminate ineffective tax breaks that don’t deliver on their promises. The Enterprise Zone Program costs California hundreds of millions of dollars every year – precious funding that could be going to our schools, universities, or other programs that serve the common good.

— Lisa Gardiner

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