CHARLOTTESVILLE -- A University of Virginia researcher says the state should declare a moratorium on establishing enterprise zones until an evaluation determines if the first ones have proven beneficial.
The zones carry promises of new jobs in depressed areas, but they haven't been monitored to see if they've been effective, said David Maloney, an assistant professor in the University of Virginia's McIntire School of Commerce.
Enterprise zones were established in Virginia in 1982 as a tool to stimulate economic activity and employment in depressed areas, said Maloney.
He studied the 12 zones that have been created in the last five years (three more are scheduled to take effect in 1988) and came up with a number of recommendations.
The first step, he said, is a moratorium on new zones until it can be determined if the first ones have worked. That should be followed by the development of a monitoring system to see if the zones are cost effective.
Maloney also found the goal of zones is "neighborhood revitalization," but the term is never defined anywhere. He said the state needs to discover what kinds of economic activity are being created and who is being helped by the plan.
"Although the enterprise zone program cannot be a panacea, its presence could produce cost-effective results and play a positive role in economic development," Maloney said.