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Nurturing small business growth Mary Salas | Fri, Jun 14 2013 11:00 AM

Small businesses are the backbone of any local economy. In the City of Chula Vista there are approximately 7,300 licensed businesses in 2013 so far, employing approximately 50,000 people and generating more than $2.5-billion in economic activity that generates $25-million in sales tax to provide public services like street maintenance, police, libraries, recreation and fire services.

During the past four years of recession approximately 100 CV businesses received an estimated $20,000,000 in employment vouchers per year for approximately 1,000 new employees per year.   Last year approximately 140 businesses submitted more than 1,400 vouchers valued at more than $22 million for recently created employment, a 40% increase and a trend in building an economic engine and quality jobs.

Enterprise Zones’s exist in impoverished areas and cover the adjacent employment lands that provide the unemployed and underemployed workers with a ladder out of poverty.

Our small businesses present new employment opportunities and in the right business climate offering the right products and services can grow into major corporations.  Chula Vista’s shining example is the Corky McMillin story.
Small businesses that survive over time are a source of economic security for owners and their families over generations. Some of those businesses that Chula Vistans have faithfully and continuously patronized include  La Bella’s-the Razo family,  Coin Mart-the Altbaum family, Village Card Room-the Souza family;  Fuller Plumbing, The Family House-the Spezzano family and let’s not forget Tyco Property Management founded by the late great Marshall “Ty” Compton, to name a few.  As Chula Vistans have loyally supported these businesses, so have they generously supported community causes such as youth sports teams, non-profits like South Bay Community Services, the Police Activities league, and the YMCA.

These businesses and hundreds of other in Chula Vista have weathered one of the harshest recessions since the Great Depression, countless others did not survive. The recession put a blaring spotlight on the importance of small businesses and the necessity of state, federal and local governments to examine and change policies and regulations that are impediments to economic growth and to implement strategies and initiatives that will encourage and spur business expansion.

The economy is finally revving up and as consumer confidence builds we must ensure that the City of Chula Vista clearly hangs out its “open for business” sign and that we do all that we can to foster business expansion and retention.  We must listen to the business community to understand where the roadblocks may lay and what we can do as a city to remove them. We must work in partnership with the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce, whether it is collaborating in the “Shop Chula Vista” program or fighting together to preserve economic development tools such as the Enterprise Zone hiring tax credits.

Here is the story of just one local business owner and his experience in utilizing the EZ tax credits. Marco Vargas, owner of Chula Vista Auto Body attended a Chamber mixer six years ago. During the program he learned that he was in the EZ and might be eligible for some incentives. He followed up with the CPA who did the presentation to submit the necessary records and paper work. He found out he was eligible for a tax credit of $19,000. “I was able to hire three more people who are still with me.”  That is three more people with steady good paying jobs, supporting their families and shopping in our local businesses. That is how the business/government partnership should and can work!

Salas is a member of the Chula Vista City Council.

CORRECTION: IN A PREVIOUS VERSION OF THIS STORY MCMILLIN WAS SPELLED INCORRECTLY.

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