The headlines are full of other states offering incentives for local companies to set up shop there, either by moving entirely or expanding. (Case in point: See our story about Farmer Bros. on page 7.)

Less common is for California to give incentives for companies to expand here. But that’s what happened last month as a state agency voted to distribute $69 million in tax credits to 94 companies with expansion projects in the state.

The companies were among more than 250 that have applied to the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development for the credits as part of a successor program to the disbanded and controversial state enterprise zone program.

Companies with operations in Los Angeles County snagged a significant portion of this round of credits, with 17 companies receiving a total of $19.2 million in credits to go toward $827 million worth of expansion projects that will create an estimated 5,180 jobs.

Of course, in the past, the actual number of jobs created often fell short of projections, which helped undermine the enterprise zone program. Under this new program, companies will have to hit annual job-creation targets to receive their tax credits.

Northrop Grumman Corp. of Falls Church, Va., is getting the largest single tax credit – $10 million – that will go toward $520 million of facility expansions throughout the state. They include operations in El Segundo, Redondo Beach, Woodland Hills, Azusa and Palmdale. The company projects all of its facility expansions in the state will generate 1,359 jobs.

The smallest tax credit – $35,000 – is going to the Torrance facility of Citizen Watch, a unit of Tokyo’s Citizen Holdings, which plans to use the money to buy manufacturing equipment and hire five additional workers.

One of the biggest locally headquartered companies that won tax credits is El Monte aerospace parts maker Gill Corp., which is receiving $1 million toward a $56 million expansion it said will generate 328 jobs. The company plans to invest in new manufacturing equipment and build a 140,000-square-foot plant on land it intends to purchase near Gill’s existing facility.

“We considered other sites, but chose to remain in California because it’s our home,” said Gill spokeswoman Caroline Copeland. “This tax credit helps offset some of the economic disadvantages of expanding in California.”

Another Bioscience Park?

There’s been renewed interest lately in the creation of a bioscience park in East Los Angeles near County-USC Medical Center. But now, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas has his eyes on another such park to be developed at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in the unincorporated Harbor Gateway community, tucked between Torrance and Carson.

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