The tax bill President Trump signed last December could directly boost the Fresno economy, usin gtax incentives to entice investors to low-income areas.

Councilmember Luis Chavez is leading the charge in Southeast Fresno. He’s proposing a plan that supports small businesses in high poverty areas like the Ventura-Kings Canyon corridor but he needs enough votes from the council on Thursday for it to pass.

Take a drive down Ventura Avenue east of First Street through Kings Canyon Road up to Peach Avenue. You may notice more businesses are open. 

“The last year and half we’ve had about 22 businesses open up, 350-plus new jobs. We want to make sure we keep that going,” said Chavez.

Councilman Chavez is unveiling the Support Small Business Act to City Council on Thursday, something he’s been working on with Mayor Lee Brand. If it passes, businesses will have 18 months to invest in the Ventura-Kings Canyon Corridor and even get a discount on financing. 

“And so we’re gonna leverage that with tax rebates and property tax rebates at the local level as well,” said Chavez.

Business owners must create five full-time jobs to earn those rebates for up to ten years. Monica Diaz runs three accounting services in Fresno. One of them is on Ventura and Orange. The proposal would benefit Diaz who says she’s constantly paying taxes. 

“So just to think that something will come in there to support and help the amount of taxes that we pay, I think that’s a great incentive for anybody to want to open their business in that area,” said Diaz.

President Trump’s recent tax overhaul got attention from Chavez. Tucked into the bill is something called “Opportunity Zones”, describing high poverty areas with slow job growth. Census tracts pinpoint the opportunity zones and out of nearly 900 tracts in California nominated by Governor Brown. The Ventura-Kings Canyon Corridor qualifies. 

“So the fact that Luis Chavez took the time to really understand the needs of the entrepreneurs and the small businesses and the mom and pops, I think it’s wonderful,” said Diaz.

Chavez says those needs have to be met for local businesses to prosper in Southeast Fresno. 

“That’s really the heart and soul of this community,” said Chavez.

Established businesses and startups in the Ventura-Kings Canyon corridor can save oney on development fees. But Chavez says businesses moving from other parts of Fresno to the corridor won’t benefit.