The state is reaching out to businesses through various tax exemptions to keep them in California.

Patrick McGuire, senior business development specialist for Gov. Jerry Brown and the Office of Business & Economic Development (GO-Biz), stopped by the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce Wednesday morning to share with business leaders that changes have been made for the state to invest in businesses already in California.

"We're helping existing long-term California companies," he said and added that while it might seem that businesses are flocking to outside of the state, businesses are also relocating to California.

GO-Biz services include investment services, permit assistance, international trade and innovation. They're also getting the word out about the Government Economic Development Initiative that provides sales tax exemptions, hiring tax credit and the California Competes tax credit.

California Competes is part of the governor's Economic Development Initiative (GEDI). A total of 396 companies applied and requested more than $500 million in total credits. GO-Biz evaluated 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.

The California Competes Committee approved $28.9 million in tax credits for 29 companies expanding and creating jobs in California.

"The inaugural round of California Competes awardees represents a broad range of industries and regions across California," said committee chair Michael E. Rossi, in a press release. "I am confident these companies will use the tax credits to invest in their business, hire more people and contribute to California's ongoing economic growth."

The awards approved by the committee are projected to help these companies create almost 6,000 jobs and generate more than $2 billion in investments across California. Awardees are exempted from paying state income taxes in the amount awarded.

An additional $150 million in tax credits will be allocated this fiscal year and companies not selected in the first round are eligible to reapply once the next application period opens.

The GEDI also includes a hiring credit for areas of high unemployment and poverty, and a sales and use tax exemption for the purchase of manufacturing, biotech and R&D equipment.

McGuire explained that one company cannot get more than 20 percent of the pot and that 25 percent has been earmarked for small businesses.

"It really benefits everyone more equally when everyone can apply," said Sandy Person, president of the Solano Economic Development Corporation and added that the tax credits aren't targeting specialized districts.

"We're helping companies now apply for this," she said. "Economic development is a team sport. It takes the local leadership, the county and the state to work together."

McGuire also pointed to the California Capital Access Program, Cal-CAP, which encourages financial institutions to make loans to small businesses that fall just outside their conventional underwriting standards. Cal-CAP is a form of loan portfolio insurance that provides up to 100 percent coverage on certain loan charge offs.

Person said the challenge is where to start and that's when Solano EDC is there to help navigate.
"To bring those tools and resources to the businesses is a challenge, but California is making an effort," she said.

For additional information visit or visit