L.A. Area Chamber Urges Balanced Approach to Solve California Budget Crisis

L.A.ís leading business organization supports budget reforms, a combination of spending reductions and revenue enhancements, and components of economic stimulus package

November 21, 2008

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce today released its position on specific proposals being discussed by the California State Legislature to address the projected $28 billion budget deficit.  Building on the L.A. Area Chamber’s guiding principals for budget reform released in June, the Board of Directors supports comprehensive budget reform, a combination of spending reductions and revenue enhancements to balance the deficit, and components of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Employment Stimulus for California action plan.  

“California’s budget deficit has reached historic proportions and must be addressed,” said Gary Toebben, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.  “Now is the time for pragmatic, principled leadership from all lawmakers to update California’s fiscal system for the 21st century economy.  We can not continuing delaying this conversation to future years.”  

The L.A. Area Chamber urges reforms such as the bipartisan Commission to modernize the state’s outdated revenue system.  The Chamber also supports strengthening the California Environment Quality Act (CEQA) and preparing a California Mobility Action Plan to expedite and stimulate the development of needed housing and infrastructure projects throughout the state.

Acknowledging the scope of California’s fiscal crisis, the L.A. Area Chamber encourages a balanced approach to narrowing the deficit incorporating equal spending reductions and revenue increases from sources including a reinstated Vehicle License Fee (VLF).  The Chamber opposes any industry-specific tax or fee increases, which single out specific sectors of the economy to address a systematic problem.  The Chamber Board of Directors did not indicate support for other tax increases.

“Cuts alone will not solve this unprecedented budget crisis,” said Toebben.  “Addressing a budget deficit of this magnitude requires a responsible combination of spending reductions and revenue enhancements.  While a hard pill to swallow, restoring the Vehicle License Fee is the best option for raising revenue so that we don’t have to raise the state sales tax or enact new industry-specific taxes, which will unfairly impact small business and certain industry segments.”

The Chamber supports components of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Employment Stimulus for California action plan that jumpstart infrastructure projects, reduce the cost of litigation, include employer flexibility and provide target tax credits to keep film production in California.

The L.A. Area Chamber’s Board of Directors will continue to evaluate specific budget proposals as lawmakers work to address the current state budget crisis.  Click here to view the Chamber’s guiding principles for state budget reform and its position statement on the current fiscal crisis.

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The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region.  For more information, visit www.lachamber.com.

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