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San Diego Regional Enterprise Zone: Transforming San Diego

The California-designated Enterprise Zone provides the largest array of pro-business and helpful economic incentives in San Diego County. Forbes magazine dubbed the San Diego region the "Best Place to Build a Business." In a word, San Diego, Chula Vista and National City, in cooperation with the Unified Port of San Diego, means "opportunity" for businesses along with a superb quality of life. Mild climate and sunny days, bring an average temperature of 72 degrees all year long. One can surf in the morning and cross-country ski on the same day during the winter months.

The San Diego Enterprise Zone is located on the U.S.-Mexico border and Pacific Rim, providing unlimited trading opportunities, readily accessible highways, train transport, seaport and three airports within 30 minutes of each other: Lindbergh, Brown and Rodriguez. Affordable housing is available, and access to the community college district and several career centers for staff training are a winning combination for a productive work force. San Diego County is the jewel of tourism for fun and recreation. The region also boasts the best health care access in the nation with Scripps, UC San Diego Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, Tri-City, Sharp and Pomerado hospitals.

Enterprise Zone incentives include tax credits on hiring "qualifying" new employees, no-cost job referral service, equipment investment credits, job referral service, waiver of the Housing Impact Fee for eligible projects, automatic access to permit assistance, access to specialized technical and financial assistance programs and accelerated equipment depreciation deduction.

"Being located in the Enterprise Zone is one tool that enhances our ability to compete for both internal and external resources. We are in the process of utilizing several incentive options, including hiring tax credits, equipment sales-or-use tax and net operating loss carry forward provisions," according to the Goodrich Corporation, which was recently acquired by United Technologies Corp. Aerospace Systems.

Other advantages for the Regional Enterprise Zone include: tax savings for Enterprise Zone employees, expedited building permits and permitting assistance.

"The permit expediting was instrumental in getting us started," said Jennifer Case, president of New Leaf Biofuel.

Enterprise Zone businesses can take a tax credit against the purchase of new manufacturing, computer hardware and software, data processing or communications equipment equal to the sales-or-use tax amount. Mike Friedman, of Bike Bandit.com said, "The tax credits have helped us to invest in equipment that allows us to get our products to our customers fast and accurately."

According to Nancy Estolano, San Diego Leather, "We've used the sales-or-use tax credit to buy new computers, set up our network, and install a new telephone system."

San Diego's Regional Enterprise Zone program covers designated areas of the City of San Diego (Barrio Logan, Golden Hill, Mid-City, Otay Mesa, Kearny Mesa, Mira Mesa and Rancho Bernardo), the City of Chula Vista along prime waterfront property, its core commercial district and industrial corridors, including Eastlake Business Park, and nearly the entire jurisdiction of National City. Portions of these areas offer the most extensive developable land opportunities in the region and offer tremendous opportunities and incentives for businesses and industries.

Otay Mesa in South Bay has some of the most competitive and finest warehouses and storage facilities that are state-of-the-art for sustainable energy and efficiency. In addition, San Diego County is the mecca for both cable and wireless technology making any enterprise truly cyber and cloud competitive for the 21st century.

www.SDREZ.org | 619-533-5954

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Tony Lovitt is a freelance writer based in La Jolla. He can be contacted at tlovitt@san.rr.com.

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