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SCV Enterprise Zone hits 1 year

Stimulus program has helped 41 businesses in the community

Posted: July 7, 2008 1:29 a.m.
Updated: September 7, 2008 5:03 a.m.

For the past year, Santa Clarita has been in the "zone" and in that period, a little more than 40 businesses have taken advantage of some serious savings.

Tuesday marked the official one-year anniversary of the Santa Clarita Enterprise Zone, a designation offered to various cities by the state of California, which gives qualifying local businesses a chance to save thousands through credits.

"The Enterprise Zone can completely erase or partially erase taxes to the state of California," said Andree Walper, economic development associate.

The hiring tax credit voucher program, which is given to individuals who meet certain criteria, is the most popular draw, Walper said.

However, she notes that the city will not know how many businesses benefited from the other credits, like the business expense deduction option, until 2009, when the state releases the data.

To date, 41 businesses have taken advantage of the hiring tax credit option. More than 100 vouchers have been issued for qualifying employees of the total businesses.

The economic development office estimates that the voucher program can save approximately $37,000 over a five-year period on a single qualifying employee.

In May, the 100th voucher was issued to the 99 Cents Only Store and represents a potential savings of more than $3.7 million to local businesses within city limits, figures from the office show.

Along with the 99 Cents Only Store, Walper said all types of companies representing nearly every industry, ranging from retail to restaurants and auto dealers to banks, have taken advantage of the designation.
"We've really seen the whole spectrum," she said.

The designation covers 97 percent of all commercial, business and industrial-zoned land within city limits.
Walper said the benefits are handled through the tax returns, however, the city of Santa Clarita can serve as a resource for local businesses interested in receiving the benefits.

"It's not very complicated," she said.

Walper believes if businesses don't have to pay as much for their state taxes, they will be able to hire more employees and can put the money they saved back into the business.

"When business is benefiting, Santa Clarita is benefiting," she said.


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