Neil Derry

Point of View

Supervisor Neil Derry
Posted: 05/22/2012 02:44:33 PM PDT

The people of San Bernardino County are tired of being unemployed or underemployed. They are tired of feeling like they just can’t get ahead. And they are tired of feeling like nothing is ever going to change.

There is a limit to what a county government can do to improve an economy that is subject to state, national and global pressures. But that doesn’t absolve us from working hard to make a positive impact in areas where we can make a difference.

The seeds of economic recovery and sustained vibrancy begin to sprout when communities evaluate their strengths and weakness, assess the landscape for opportunities, and leverage available assets and resources to maximize growth and create jobs.

Understanding who we are as a community is essential to developing a strategy to achieve economic renewal. Communities that competently take inventory of these factors possess the confidence and patience to chart the long-term course to achieve these objectives.

The county of San Bernardino is preparing to embark upon this journey.

Our economic development agency recently entered into a collaborative partnership with Loma Linda University that we believe will mark the beginning of a multi-decade development of a biotech and life science industry complex. Loma Linda University owns many patents and innovations as a result of its vaunted research programs and decades of innovative practices and applications. To date, the value of these incredibly marketable assets has not been fully extracted.

Through our ability to apply for special tax credits from the federal government under the New Market Tax Credit fund, we believe we can entice firms to relocate or establish themselves here and facilitate the introduction of these intellectual assets owned by the university to the marketplace. These tax credits are designed to promote investment in low-income communities by permitting individual and corporate investors to receive the tax credit spread out over seven years in exchange for making equity investments through a community development entity controlled by the county. Areas surrounding LLU qualify under this program. Investors receive a 39 percent credit against the original investment amount. Obviously, this is an enticing carrot given to investors that engage in a very high-risk investment with a long-term horizon.

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