"Fairly painless this year," said Wendy Clements, the enterprise zone's manager. "Will it come up next year? Most likely, because it comes up every year."

The San Bernardino Valley Enterprise Zone offers hiring and other tax credits to businesses within its territory, which includes land in San Bernardino, Colton and adjacent unincorporated areas.

Gov. Jerry Brown proposed eliminating enterprise zones and their tax-incentive programs in January, at the outset of this year's budget debates, but the program remained essentially unchanged at the conclusion of this year's budget process, Clements said.

The Brown administration initially made the case that ending the zones' tax credits would save the state hundreds of millions of dollars.

Zone proponents said ending the tax benefits would increase unemployment and leave the state no better off.

Many experts disagree over whether enterprise zones actually increase hiring, however.

One of the proposed reform bills, Assembly Bill 1411, would mandate that zones' boundaries be more strictly drawn to focus on low-income areas and would also increase reporting requirements, according to The Tax Credit Co.

The Tax Credit Co. is a Los Angeles-based consulting firm that works with companies seeking employee-based tax credits.

Another bill, A.B. 1278, would only let companies moving into an enterprise zone receive hiring-tax credits when they hire employees at a number greater than those who worked at the company's previous location, EZ Policy reported.

Enterprise zones' hiring tax credits can be worth roughly $37,000 for employees meeting certain criteria.

The credits are designed to prod managers into hiring people who may otherwise have particular difficulties in finding work, such as welfare recipients and ex-convicts. Military veterans can also be eligible.

Source: www.dailybulletin.com/ci_18501818