Our Opinion: An aggressive step

April 04, 2002

After many years in which it seemed Brawley was floundering, the city finally is on a new clear track toward economic development. There appears to be an aggressive effort on the part of the city to bring growth.

One sign of that is the push for new legislation that would change the city's state manufacturing enhancement designation to an enterprise zone, which would expand the city's ability to provide tax incentives to businesses.

We join city and county officials in urging state leaders to approve Assembly Bill 499, which would change the MEA to an enterprise zone. Now is an ideal time for the state government to pay some attention to the Imperial Valley, which has seen a sharp decrease in its unemployment rate in the last year.

That decrease was due in large part to the new beef-processing plant in Brawley, which created 600 jobs. And that the beef plant located in Brawley is due in large part to the city offering a tax incentive through its MEA.


In 1998 — when the city was denied an enterprise zone designation — city officials went to work to create state Senate Bill 200 to establish a manufacturing enhancement area. Through a lot of hard work the city got the MEA designation and later had it expanded to cover the land upon which the beef plant would be built.

That we have these new jobs is due in large part to the city being able to offer tax incentives to Brawley Beef LLC. Without that, there is a chance the beef plant would have located in Arizona and taken all those jobs with it.

The only problem is the MEA is limited in its scope. It only covers manufacturing businesses; it does not allow the city to provide tax incentives to other types of businesses, such as commercial businesses. It seems clear the city could take an enterprise designation and do a great deal with it. There already are distribution companies interested in locating in the city and a tax incentive package could help seal the deal. Such distribution centers would mean more good jobs.

AB 499 already has passed through the Assembly and is on its way to the Senate. The legislation should be adopted.

We think the tend toward growth is going to continue in Brawley. Drive through the city and you can see the development. With an enterprise zone designation, that rate of growth would only increase and bring with it the jobs and quality of life the people of North County deserve.

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