Sacramento, California - This week, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) successfully ushered out several of his regional economic priority bills through the Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy (JEDE) Committee. In collaboration with the current JEDE Chair, Assemblymember Quirk-Silva (D- Orange County) and other colleagues, AB 2312, AB 2463, and AB 2596 stand to enhance the 56th Assembly District’s ability to create jobs and foster overall economic growth.

Since his time as Chair of JEDE, Assemblymember Garcia worked diligently with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to make sure that our statewide programs, like the California Competes Tax Credit, offer relief to economically underserved areas, such as Imperial County. To accomplish this, he has worked closely with local entities such as Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation (IVEDC) to tailor policy initiatives to meet regional needs. 

Enhancing and Incentivizing Regional Development

“As a 2.4 trillion dollar economy, California is a prime spot for business, and we need to do a better job competing with other states to attract companies. AB 2312, California Competes Tax Credit will help us do just that while giving our local municipalities the tools to incentivize businesses and retain more control over their economic growth,” explained Assemblymember Garcia.

Timothy E. Kelley, President, and CEO of IVEDC stated, “IVEDC has utilized the California Competes Tax Credits to successfully assist local businesses to retain and expand their operations in the Imperial County.  This has led to new investments by these companies and the hiring of additional employees. When it comes to using the tax credits to market our region to potential companies, we have found the program is not competitive with other states.”

After working on several projects over the last few years, listening to site selectors and hearing from other economic development organizations throughout the state, IVEDC and Assemblymember Garcia came up with the proposed modifications to the California Competes Tax Credit program. This measure will help the program become more proactive rather than reactive to business attraction activities.

Mr. Kelley continued, “I am glad to see that our voices have been heard and that the JEDE committee unanimously passed this bill out of its committee for further consideration.  Also, thank you to Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia and his staff for helping us draft the legislation that we feel will make this a better program.”

Support for Local Veteran, Women, and Minority Owned Small Businesses

In conjunction with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Assemblymember Garcia, JEDE Chair Quirk-Silva and Assemblymember Cervantes (D – Corona) are rallying to provide additional support for California small businesses. The governor has included a $20 million budget allocation for small business technical assistance to go along with Quirk-Silva, Cervantes and Garcia’s proposed AB 2463, Small Business Assistance Program. These initiatives go hand in hand to provide matching funds to federally designated small business assistance centers, particularly for those committed to assisting businesses operated by veterans, women, and minorities.

"It is the hard work of the over 3.8 million California small businesses that help our golden state hold rank amongst the largest economies in the world," said Garcia. “Small business development centers are critical to providing entrepreneurs with the support and resources to thrive and contribute to growing stronger regional economies. This program and funding will help improve the ability of these centers to offer technical assistance and empowerment to local veterans, women and other underserved minority business owners.” 

Cohesive Vision for California’s Economy

AB 2596 (Cooley/E. Garcia) would allow the state to evaluate the competitive position of its economy and compare it to the nation and world. It calls for a convening of unique voices across the state to provide recommendations on economic initiatives. Also, it requires the state to review strategies and remove impediments to economic prosperity.

According to the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, nearly 20% of Californians live in poverty, with 2.1 million residents living with income less than half the poverty threshold. By developing a statewide economic strategy, we can drive industry, jobs, and entrepreneurial growth in disinvested places and populations while encouraging new economic opportunities and alleviating poverty.

“As the former Chair of the Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy Committee, I understand the many advantages of establishing a statewide economic development plan,” stated Garcia. “A comprehensive and cohesive vision will allow California to achieve growth without leaving behind economically underserved areas, like those in my district.  AB 2596 will help implement a strategic agenda to bring jobs and industry to the places that need it the most.”