One of the things I learned from tracking the city of Chula Vista’s Twitter account (@thinkchulavista): I need to work on my reading comprehension skills.
When they posted that the city added 700 businesses to its enterprise zone my first thought was great, the economy is bouncing back. That many new businesses in this economic climate is more than even Pollyanna on a generous dose of Prozac could hope for.
But on closer consideration — and patient tutelage from the city’s Economic Development Department — the news wasn’t about the creation of new businesses. It wasn’t as if 700 new mom and pop stores sprouted up over the course of a year. It was about the addition of 700 businesses to an area targeted for economic boosting.
Under a state program, businesses in enterprise zones are eligible for tax credits that, in part, allow owners to hire employees at little cost. Perhaps the best part of the incentive is that currently the city’s enterprise zone is situated in the city’s west side.
Because the zone’s boundaries have been expanded, 700 more businesses are eligible to participate. As a result, employers will get credit for having hired 992 people be they part- or full-time.
Of course news that eligibility has been expanded isn’t as great as news that more businesses are throwing open their doors, but it does call for some enthusiasm.
Given that high schools, universities and trade schools are releasing hordes of hopeful job seekers into a market that’s already teeming with people desperate for work, any incentive employers receive for hiring staff is welcome.
In other words, you have to take good news when you can get it.
It’s still not a great challenge to find empty storefronts or note the absence of “Help Wanted” signs. For the last few years businesses couldn’t afford to bring more people aboard or even keep the ones they had. With a little help from the state that could change. You hope so, anyway.
Having a job often is about more than having money in your pocket.
For kids still in or just out of high school, it’s an opportunity to learn about responsibility outside the confines of the classroom.
For university grads, it’s the first step in establishing their careers and, peripherally, the rest of their lives.
And for the chronically unemployed, the newly laid off or older workers looking to re-enter the workforce, landing a job is an opportunity to regain some dignity.
Any program that offers incentives to facilitate those benchmarks ought to be celebrated.