Southwest Colorado has two counties that qualify for Enhanced Rural Enterprise Zone status The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) recently announced the state's updated list of counties that qualify for Enhanced Rural Enterprise Zone (EREZ) status. For the 2015 and 2016 calendar year, 29 Colorado counties meet two or more of the criteria specified in the Colorado Enterprise Zone Act and are designated as an EREZ. This includes Dolores and San Juan County who each meet four of the criteria. Archuleta County, which has been previously listed, will be going off the list as their economic conditions have improved to where they do not meet the specified criteria. OEDIT is required to review qualifying data set forth per statute and to update EREZ status every two years. EREZs are counties in an Enterprise Zone that meet two of the following five criteria: • County unemployment rate greater than 50% above state average. • County per capita income less than 75% of state average. • County population growth rate less than 25% of state average. • Total non-residential assessed value ranks in lower half of all counties. • County population less than 5,000. Counties with a population of fewer than 50,000 are defined as rural in the Enterprise Zone statutes. Businesses in EREZs earn additional Colorado income tax credits when hiring new employees. For more information on EREZ credits, visit www.advancecolorado.com/erez or the Region 9 Economic Development District at 970-247-9621.