The state gave final approval Thursday for a new enterprise zone for business tax credits in Los Angeles County.

The Harbor Gateway Communities Enterprise Zone, which will take effect on May 1, includes the city of Huntington Park, the portion of the city of Los Angeles extending down to the harbor area and parts of unincorporated Los Angeles County.

Businesses locating within the zone will be eligible for tax credits of up to $35,000 over five years for each employee they hire and for part of a $20 million pool of tax credits for machinery purchases.

The zone was first proposed in late 2010, just before the state enterprise zone program came under threat.

Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown proposed eliminating enterprise zones and diverting more than $1 billion in unused tax credits back to the state’s general fund. He cited studies that claimed many companies receiving the tax credits were not hiring additional employees or were otherwise gaming the system.

Business interests and local government officials fought back, saying enterprise zones were one of the few tools left for state and local governments to foster job creation.

The enterprise zone program survived, but is under renewed budgetary threat this year.