What is JOBZ?
The acronym JOBZ stands for Job Opportunity Building Zones, Minnesota's most
recent enterprise zone program. The 2003 Legislature enacted the JOBZ program in
response to a proposal by then-Governor Tim Pawlenty.
How do enterprise zone programs work?
Enterprise zone programs are designed to stimulate economic development in
designated geographic areas (the enterprise zones). To be designated as a zone,
an area typically must meet criteria of economic distress or decline, such as
high unemployment, declining population or income, deteriorating tax bases, and
so forth. The designated areas typically qualify for special tax incentives and
may qualify for reduced or streamlined government regulation. The theory is that
these incentives will attract new investment in or migration to the zone,
improving the economic condition of its residents, and making better use of
What is the history of enterprise zone programs?
Enterprise zone programs were proposed in the 1970s and were first adopted in
England. The federal government and many states have adopted enterprise zone
programs. Minnesota adopted its first enterprise zone program in 1983. This
program ended in the early 1990s. The federal government adopted its first
enterprise zone program in 1993 and has modified and expanded it several times
since. President Bush proposed expanding federal enterprise zones in 2004. The
federal government also used an enterprise zone-style program ("Gulf Opportunity
Zone") to respond to Hurrican Katrina in 2005.
Are enterprise zone programs used for urban and/or rural areas?
Enterprise zone programs have been used for both urban and rural sites.
Minnesota's first program was and the federal programs are targeted at both types of
areas. By contrast, JOBZ is limited mainly to more rural areas; it does not
permit designation of zones within the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan
area. However, JOBZ designations have been made in smaller metropolitan
areas, such as Rochester and Duluth.