Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez, D-Coachella, made the following statement today regarding the signing of the 2013-14 budget by Governor Brown and the approval of the economic development bill AB 93:
"With his signature, today the Governor has set into motion an on-time, balanced budget that is fiscally sound and supports essential programs. I am pleased that the budget builds on the stability we have achieved and that it reflects our commitment to fiscal responsibility, strengthening the middle class, educational opportunity, and making government services more effective. I am particularly pleased that the final budget included the $2 million I requested to complete the Salton Sea funding feasibility study. The completion of this study is a central and critical component of our efforts to restore the Salton Sea. AB 71, a measure I introduced earlier this year, will authorize the Salton Sea Authority to conduct this study, and I am confident we will get this bill signed this year.
"Today, the Legislature approved and sent to the Governor an economic development proposal, AB 93, which I supported. The proposal seeks to improve the overall climate for business attraction in the state, while still prioritizing economically distressed areas for economic development. The bill includes reforms to the Enterprise Zone program that will make the program less vulnerable to abuse, while still providing tools to maintain and create jobs. Though scaled back, the hiring credit is targeted to supporting employment in communities with the highest rates of poverty and unemployment in our state. Importantly, 25% of the credit will be dedicated to small businesses, a sector of our economy we should never neglect. At the same time, I am encouraged that special provisions that reserve one quarter of the credits in the California Competes Fund for small businesses with priority given to projects in areas of high unemployment or poverty. Though the bill falls short on some elements, it avoids outright elimination of the EZ program, and it creates a platform for ongoing discussion about the economic development challenges of the most struggling areas of the state."