92nd Annual World Trade Week celebration to highlight power and importance of international trade

Gary Toebben on April 10, 2018 at 6:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Not since the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into force on Jan. 1, 1994 has international trade been in the national news on a daily basis. The U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer elected to cancel the last NAFTA roundtable renegotiations scheduled to take place this week, instead he call to have a series of ministerial meetings on the agreement. Along with the tariffs on imports being proposed by the U.S. and China, this is an appropriate time to remind Southern Californians about the huge importance of international trade to our local economy.

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Community College Transfers Are Key to State's Future

Gary Toebben on April 3, 2018 at 9:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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In today’s increasingly competitive economy, every projection shows that California is not on track to produce the skilled workforce we need to fulfill future economic demands. By 2020, 65 percent of all jobs in the U.S. will require some level of postsecondary education and training. The Public Policy Institute (PPIC) estimates that California will face a shortage of 1.1 million workers with a bachelor’s degree by 2030. 

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Lack of Housing A Threat To Business & Future Generations

Gary Toebben on March 27, 2018 at 9:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Last Friday, the Los Angeles City Council Rules Committee voted to oppose one of the best opportunities the State has to address our housing supply and affordability crisis. SB 827, authored by Senator Scott Wiener, would increase density in transit-rich areas, allowing four to eight story residential buildings in appropriate areas throughout the State. This bill would expand housing opportunities for our families, growing workforce and first-time homebuyers.

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Next Steps on Federal Priorities

Gary Toebben on March 20, 2018 at 9:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Last week, 160 business, non-profit and elected leaders traveled to D.C. for our annual advocacy trip. Twelve teams spanning a wide-variety of issues that impact the Southern California economy met with seven Cabinet departments, the Vice President's office and dozens of Congressional and Senate offices.

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D.C. - We're Not Going With Hat in Hand

Gary Toebben on March 13, 2018 at 9:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Today, 160 business and civic leaders are in Washington, D.C. for the region’s annual ACCESS Washington, D.C. trip. The delegation will meet with dozens of members of Congress and the Administration about issues that are important to our economy and our quality of life.  Here is our advocacy agenda.

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A Step Forward on the 710 Freeway

Gary Toebben on March 6, 2018 at 9:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Last Thursday, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) voted to invest $1 billion in early action projects and a clean technology fund to improve congestion and air quality on the 710 Freeway between Long Beach and the 60 Freeway. Early action projects and their timing will be identified in the spring and include improvements like a truck by-pass lane at the 405 & 710 interchange, updated ramps for 24 streets along the corridor, modernized interchanges and a clean technology fund. The Metro Board did not include the addition of two new lanes as recommended by Metro staff and urged by the business community. That authorization will require a future vote for approval, but last week’s action was a step forward.

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Time To Show We Are Serious About Fixing Our Housing Crisis

Gary Toebben on February 27, 2018 at 9:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Last week, the coalition that successfully supported Proposition HHH in November 2016 reconvened to announce that every Council district in the City of Los Angeles was pledging to support a minimum of 222 new units of permanent supportive housing by July 2020. Six members of the City Council, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Greater Los Angeles and the LA/OC Building Trades committed to supporting and creating these 3,330 citywide units in the next three years.

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CA WaterFix - New Plan, Same Essential Goal

Gary Toebben on February 20, 2018 at 9:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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With a month left before winter turns to spring, California once again finds itself in a familiar situation - a dry winter, marked by heat and fires and a return to drought conversations. Today, the State Water Board is expected to permanently adopt regulations to reinstate water conservation practices that were allowed to expire in 2017 after plentiful rain and snow last winter.

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Taking a Large Megaphone to D.C.

Gary Toebben on February 13, 2018 at 9:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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It has never been more important for Los Angeles County and Southern California to raise its collective voice in Washington, D.C. One month from today, 150 business, civic and elected leaders will head east for Access Washington, D.C., the region's largest annual advocacy trip. This is the only time during the year when multiple business organizations, public agencies, non-profits and elected officials travel together and speak with one voice on issues that are important to the L.A. area economy and quality of life.

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Looming Immigration Deadline Threatens L.A. Workforce

Gary Toebben on February 6, 2018 at 9:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Last year, I joined with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti at a press conference to highlight the economic contributions of immigrants in Los Angeles County and the City of Los Angeles.  The event marked the release of a New American Economy (NAE) report on Los Angeles.

The report found that foreign-born residents comprise 43 percent of the employed labor force in L.A. County and they contributed more than $232 billion to L.A. County's GDP in 2014. This contribution represented 35 percent of the County's total GDP.

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