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Owners celebrate access to credits

Enterprise Zone expansion, which will benefit businesses retroactively, is applauded at TPC Valencia

Posted: May 12, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 12, 2012 1:55 a.m.

From left: Jonas Peterson, president and CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp., and Don Fleming, co-chairman of the SCVEDC, stand with Calvin Hedman, co-chairman of the SCVEDC, as he addresses attendees at the Santa Clarita Valley Enterprise Zone 2010 application at the Enterprise Zone celebration party held at Tournament Pl...

In celebration of approval for the long-awaited expanded Santa Clarita Valley Enterprise Zone, nearly 100 people gathered at TPC Valencia on Thursday, exactly one month after final approval was received.

State legislation only allows for 42 Enterprise Zones statewide.

Businesses in the expanded area may now take advantage of the tax credits allowed by the Enterprise Zone retroactively to Jan. 1, 2011.

“Within the next month, we’ll have over 100 employees that will qualify for the hiring credits,” said Ken Wiseman, CEO and managing partner of Valencia-based AMS Fulfillment, headquartered in the Valencia Commerce Center. “It’ll be over $1 million in tax credits. We’re very excited.”

Before Thursday, only companies located in the city of Santa Clarita could take advantage of the Enterprise Zone.

The Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp. worked with the city, Los Angeles County and several local businesses to apply for the geographic expansion in 2010.

The application fills a 5-inch binder.

Temporarily approved Dec. 15, 2010, the valleywide Enterprise Zone became mired in a protracted state budget debate that threatened the existence of the economic program. There may be future conditions imposed on the program within the coming months, according to the SCVEDC.

But that didn’t dampen local officials’ enthusiasm.

“The Enterprise Zone gives us our biggest economic advantage over other areas in Southern California,” said Ken Pulskamp, Santa Clarita city manager.

Under the program, businesses can earn hiring tax credits, business expense deductions, sales and use tax credits, net interest deductions for lending and more.

The expansion will benefit a number of companies that have been waiting for the approval, said Calvin Hedman, president of Hedman Partners and co-chairman of the SCVEDC.

“We’ve had clients in the Valencia Commerce Center — for a number of years — who are finally able to take advantage of the program,” Hedman said. “We’re working with them to realize the extra credits.”

While many focus on the hiring tax credits, he said, a lot of manufacturers can take advantage of the credits for equipment purchases, too.

The newly expanded Enterprise Zone represents hundreds of millions of dollars in tax savings, said Don Fleming, co-chairman of the SCVEDC and co-owner of Valencia Acura. Fleming also credited Pulskamp for getting the first Enterprise Zone for the city.

“Last year, Valencia Acura saved over $70,000 through hiring and sales and use tax credits,” Fleming said.

Without the program, growth would have been much more difficult for AMS Fulfillment, Wiseman said.

In addition to the city, the expanded Santa Clarita Valley Enterprise Zone now covers companies in the unincorporated areas including Castaic, Canyon Country, Stevenson Ranch, as well as developments such as the Valencia Commerce Center and more.

“It’s hard to believe that California ranks dead-last as a business-destination,” said Craig Johnson president of the California Association of Enterprise Zones. “We lost 147 businesses to Texas in the last year. Thankfully, we have the Enterprise Zone program.”



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