Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday extended four state enterprise zones in Los Angeles County and gave conditional approval to two new zones, allowing an estimated 80,000 businesses to continue to obtain tax credits for hiring local workers.

The extensions are for four zones in the county that have either already expired or were set to expire in the next few months. These include zones in: Central City/Hollywood; Long Beach; Pasadena and South Gate/Lynnwood. The new zones are in Compton and Santa Clarita. However, the governor rejected an effort to extend a zone in the Northeast San Fernando Valley that expires this month.

Earlier this year, after critics cited abuses in the enterprise zone program, the Legislature tightened up eligibility requirements for hires that can be claimed by employers for tax credits of $31,000 per worker. State regulators have been drawing up new guidelines that will be implemented in coming months.

However, some enterprise zones had already expired and were put in a state of limbo, prompting Schwarzenegger's action to extend the zones.

Besides tax credits, companies located in enterprise zones can earn preference points on state contracts and can carry forward 100 percent of net operating losses.

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