From California 2020 Investment Guide

Tax Credit Program:

‘A Model for Accountability and Transparency’


The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) announced in late June that the California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC) Committee approved $73.5 million in tax credits for 22 companies projected to create 5,938 new, full-time jobs in California which will bring $434,933,475 in new investments across the state.

“As California works to safely recover from the COVID-19 induced recession, this tax credit program continues to be a model for both accountability and transparency,” said Chris Dombrowski, GO-Biz Acting Director, and Chair of the California Competes Tax Credit Committee. “What we see today is 22 companies not only choosing California but choosing Californians. We are innovators at heart, and so is our economy, and we will continue to invest in companies that look to build the future here in California.”

Of the more than $73 million tax credits awarded in this round, nearly $18.2 million will go to nine businesses adding high-quality manufacturing jobs to the state, a national leader in manufacturing. Early in the stay-at-home order, Governor Newsom deemed manufacturing to be an essential function of California’s economy.

The California Competes Tax Credit was created in 2013 to focus on helping businesses grow and stay in California. GO-Biz evaluates the most competitive applications based on the factors required by statute, including total jobs created, total investment, average wage, economic impact, strategic importance and more. In 2018, the program was extended for an additional five years with at least $180 million in tax credits available for allocation to business each year through 2023.

Small Business Assistance

In October 2019, GO-Biz announced grant awards to 69 recipients of the California Small Business Technical Assistance Expansion Program (SB TAEP). The state’s $17 million in grant funding has been allocated to technical assistance centers for expansion of their business consulting and training services to historically under-resourced businesses and communities, including minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses and low-wealth, rural and disaster-impacted communities.

“California is the innovation state and leads the nation in startups, and we must ensure that gender, race and ZIP code are not barriers to success,” said Isabel Guzman, Director of GO-Biz’s Office of the Small Business Advocate, which administers SB TAEP. “With expanded technical support, our small businesses and entrepreneurs can continue to build communities along Main Streets, make next generation products, innovate solutions to global problems and create new industries. We recognize that every small business needs a team, and this grant program will give many owners and founders access to free expert consultants, low-cost or free training, and connection to resources and tools they need to launch, grow and successfully operate their companies. Our small businesses are vital to California’s future inclusive economy.”

“We are innovators at heart, and so is our economy, and we will continue to invest in companies that look to build the future here in California.”
— Chris Dombrowski, GO-Biz Acting Director, and Chair of the California Competes Tax Credit Committee

SB TAEP, launched in 2018 and continuing through 2023, allocates funding to eligible centers through a competitive process. Funding is spread across the state and includes: Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Women’s Business Centers, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, Rural Development Centers, Minority Business Development Agency Export and Business Centers, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center Network, and other similar programs within California to support small businesses. The grantees will focus on bridging the opportunity gap for underserved small businesses and communities by offering consulting and training founders need to launch, increase revenues and create jobs.

SB TAEP is available to small business technical assistance centers which are designated by federal funding partners to operate federal small business technical assistance programs throughout the state. These centers provide free one-on-one confidential consulting and low-cost or free training to help small businesses and entrepreneurs start, expand, facilitate investment and create jobs in California. SB TAEP provides state grant funding to build on and expand consulting and training services provided by existing and new centers, including satellite offices.

Additional incentives programs available to California businesses include:

  • The California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA) supports California’s mission to provide financial incentives to cutting-edge companies by offering a sales and use tax exclusion to manufacturers that promote alternative energy and advanced transportation. These manufacturers create tens of thousands of high-paying, permanent jobs that bolster the state’s economy. The STE program is currently authorized through 2025.
  • The Research and Development Tax Credit is based on the federal research credit, with modifications. Companies may qualify for this credit if they engaged in qualified research activities in California. The credit is equal to the sum of the following: (1) 15% of qualified expenses that exceed a base amount; (2) 24% of basic research payments.
  • The Employment Training Panel (ETP) provides funding to employers to assist in upgrading the skills of their workers through training that leads to good paying, long-term jobs. The ETP was created in 1982 by the California State Legislature and is funded by California employers through a special payroll tax. ETP has a tripartite governing structure, with appointed Panel members representing business, unions and state government. The ETP is a funding agency, not a training agency. Businesses determine their own training needs and how to provide training. ETP staff is available to assist in applying for funds and other aspects of participation.
  • Economic Development Rate Program gives special utility discounts for businesses that require high-energy loads to operate or continue operating in California.

Mark Arend
Editor Emeritus of Site Selection magazine

Mark Arend

Mark Arend is editor emeritus of Site Selection, and previously served as editor in chief from 2001 to 2023. Prior to joining the editorial staff in 1997, he worked for 10 years in New York City at Wall Street Computer Review, ABA Banking Journal and Global Investment Technology. Mark graduated from the University of Hartford (Conn.) in 1985 and lives near Atlanta, Georgia.


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