L.A. Area Chamber

    TUESDAY | Dec. 2, 2008





Coming up
at the Chamber

View all upcoming events on our Web calendar.

WED | Dec. 3
Land Use, Construction & Housing Committee Meeting
more info

WED | Dec. 3
Holiday V.I.P. Reception
By Invitation Only For Circle Level, Board and Invited Guests
more info

THU | Dec. 4
Transportation & Goods Movement Committee Meeting
more info

THU | Dec. 4
Energy, Water & Environment Committee Meeting
more info

TUE | Dec. 9
Referral Network
Grow Your Business
more info

TUE | Dec. 9
Southern California Visionaries 2008
more info

TUE | Dec. 9
Building Stronger Business & Finance
Small Learning Communities
more info

WED | Dec. 10
Member Orientation
more info

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is the voice 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

350 S. Bixel St.
Los Angeles, CA 90017
213.580.7500 tel
213.580.7511 fax


Congratulations to all the new and returning Sacramento lawmakers who celebrated the swearing-in ceremony Monday. Your leadership is important and the public has high expectations that you will immediately get to work in passing a responsible budget that begins the long, difficult journey back to fiscal responsibility.

After enduring a summer-long budget stalemate and a doubling of the deficit to more than $28 billion, we are hopeful that intractability will give way to pragmatic decision-making that considers both our economy and the services our state needs
to provide to its 38 million residents.

California has a spending problem and all of us are complicit. Lawmakers spent taxpayer money during the dot com and real estate booms without recognition that all good times eventually come to an end. They did not create a rainy day fund to meet fiscal challenges during hard times, nor was there a desire to examine the need or ineffectiveness of exiting state programs. In addition, decades of voter-approved ballot initiatives have locked in formula spending even when revenue is on the decline.

The stability of the state’s revenue stream is also a problem.  Our over-reliance on highly volatile income taxes places great strains on the state’s ability to meet its most basic financial responsibilities, especially in times of declining incomes like today.

Building on the Chamber’s guiding principles for budget reform released last May, the Chamber’s Board of Directors issued an updated statement last week urging a balanced approach to solving the budget deficit. This statement reflects a reality that can no longer be ignored – both spending reductions and revenue enhancements are needed to solve the state budget crisis.

The Chamber Board reviewed every tax increase under consideration and determined that the reinstatement of the vehicle license fee (VLF), while a hard pill to swallow, would be the most stable and the least harmful to job creation and economic development. Raising the state sales tax by one and one-half percent to 10.25 percent in Los Angeles County or enacting new industry-specific taxes would have very negative impacts on our local economy and unfairly impact industry segments that are essential to maintaining the jobs that we have today.

Republicans need to find a way to support some tax increases and Democrats must move past their allegiance to all of the public programs that currently exist. Gov. Schwarzenegger must agree that restoring the VLF in 2009 is the right thing to do because our economy is dramatically different than it was in 2003. And all of us have to recognize that meeting the challenges that come with serving 38 million people in California during a less vibrant economy will require sacrifice. But if we work together to meet these challenges today – then a brighter tomorrow will come much sooner.

And that's The Business Perspective.

Gary L. Toebben
President & CEO
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

The Business Perspective is a weekly opinion piece by Gary Toebben, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, produced with the input of Samuel Garrison, Vice President of Public Policy.


by Gary Toebben, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

L.A. Business

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Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, 350 S. Bixel St., Los Angeles, CA 90017
213.580.7500 | fax: 213.580.7511 | info@lachamber.com | www.lachamber.com

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