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Ag Rakes in Most State Subsidies in Santa Cruz County

Five cents of every dollar in the state budget goes to incentive programs in California, a new study by the New York Times shows.

Lucrative local government incentives total $4.17 billion annually in California and the state's booming agriculture industry receives the largest chunk of that funding, according to a study done by the New York Times.

That's a far cry from the $19.1 billion in subsidies doled out in Texas, the state with the most robust incentive programs, but still amounts to 5 cents of every dollar in the California state budget, the data collected by the NYT showed.

The leading kinds of incentives in California were corporate income tax credits, rebates or reductions, at $2.29 billion, followed by other income tax breaks ($1.44 billion) and sales tax refunds or exemptions ($386 million), according to the NYT.

The top incenvites by industry ranked agriculture No. 1 with $208 million. The film industry recevied $191 million and tech was next, ranking third with $105 million.

A small piece of the subsidy pie comes to Santa Cruz County. Local companies received more than $1.1 million in incentive program funding in the past 10 years, according to the NYT data.

The state trend of supporting agriculture is mirrored in Santa Cruz County. Locally, money largely benefits agriculture companies and fungus giant Monterey Mushrooms received the most. The company, which has operations in Santa Cruz, Monterey and Santa Clara counties, received five grants totaling $948,218 from 2004 to 2009, the New York Times reported.

Incentive Programs Amount Company Location Type of Grant # of Grants Years Received $948,218 Monterey Mushrooms Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and Monterey counties Free Services 5 2004-09 $78,756 Agrilink Foods Watsonville Free Services 1 2004 $43,680 Seascape Resort Aptos Free Services 1 2004 $29,087 Harkness Enterprises, Inc. DBA/Pacific Plastics & Engineering Santa Cruz County Free Services 1 2010 $14,400 System Studies, Inc Santa Cruz County Free Services 1 2003 $5,780 North Coast Resource Management Santa Cruz County Free Services 1 2008 $4,160 Santa Cruz Millwork Santa Cruz County Free Services 2 2004-05 Not Available Corp for Manufacturing Excellence (MANEX) Santa Cruz and Stanislaus counties Free Services 1 2006 Not Available No Calif Teamster Apprentice Trng & Ed Santa Cruz County Free Services 1 2006

In Santa Cruz County, all of the grants fell into the category of "free services" coming from the Employment Training Panel. Some, including the ones allocated to Monterey Mushrooms, were to target areas of high unemployment, according to the data.

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