SACRAMENTO (AP) — A state economic development board approved nearly $44 million in new tax credits Tuesday for companies promising to create more than 7,000 jobs in California.
The board approved all 89 of the California Competes tax credits recommended by the board of Gov. Jerry Brown’s GO-Biz agency. The credits range from $4 million for Pacific Steel Group, which is promising to create 249 new jobs in Fairfield, San Diego and Los Angeles, to $20,000 for Outback Solutions, a Sacramento web-design company that plans to add one position.
Three San Francisco-based technology companies, including the financial advice site NerdWallet, also snagged a combined $8.55 million in tax credits with the promise of 2,600 jobs.
The companies are required to sign a five-year agreement with the state promising to meet annual targets for job creation and financial investment.
Board member Madeline Janis questioned several of the recommended credits, including $700,000 for health insurer Aetna Health of California to add 225 positions at its customer service center in Fresno.
“It very much surprised me to see a huge multibillion-dollar health insurance company on our docket,” she said. “I just wonder why do they, why do you need our $700,000, does that really make a difference for you when you have such a large business?”
Aetna Real Estate Client Relationship Manager Susan Beers told the board by telephone that Aetna would likely hire the customer service workers in another state if it did not receive the tax credit.
“California is typically a higher-cost labor market,” Beers said. “It makes Fresno a more desirable service center for us than it would be otherwise.”
The largest California Competes tax credit to date was $15 million for electric vehicle-maker Tesla Motors Inc. that was awarded in June.