L.A. Area Chamber

      TUESDAY | April 15, 2008




Coming up
at the Chamber

TUE-FRI | April

Washington, D.C.

THU | April 17
The Connection Point
Intentional Marketing

MON | April 21
Your Guard and Reserve in Global Perspective
Employer Symposium Luncheon with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve

TUE | April 22
Referral Network
Grow Your Business

TUE | April 23
Land Use, Construction & Housing Committee Meeting

THU | April 24
Executive for a Day

THU | April 24
HIRE LA 18-24 Business Engagement Meeting

THU | April 24

Transportation & Goods Movement Committee Meeting

THU | April 24
Energy, Water & Environment Committee Meeting

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


More than 200 business and civic leaders from throughout Southern California are in the nation’s capital this week to advocate for greater federal investment in the region. Washington, D.C. has consistently short-changed Southern California in recent years even though our local economy is a primary economic engine for the entire nation.

In the past, we often lost out on federal investment opportunities because our regional leaders failed to work together and develop a consensus agenda.  Instead, dozens of groups from Southern California would travel to our nation's capital at different times of the year
with conflicting messages for lawmakers. That’s one of the reasons why California is a “donor” state and receives only 79 cents for each tax dollar paid to Washington, D.C.

This year marks the second Access Washington, D.C. regional consensus trip in which nearly two dozen business and civic organizations, local cities, transit agencies and everyday citizens have joined as one large chorus of voices singing from the same songbook. The Chamber has taken the lead in developing these partnerships to generate more collaboration at home and better results in Washington, D.C.

Another reason for our 79 cent rate of return on each dollar paid in taxes is that our state’s Congressional delegation has also failed to demonstrate a collective will toward delivering the financial resources Californians need to solve our challenges here at home. Although it is hard to believe, California’s 54-member delegation has only met as a group twice in the past three years.  That is not a recipe for success.

With 54 members of Congress, we should have the most powerful delegation in Washington, D.C. and it should show in federal funding for California. There was a time when a “blue” state like California could blame its lack of success on Republican leaders from other states. Today, with the Speaker of the House of Representatives from California and Democratic majorities in both the Senate and House, there is no one left at which our delegation can point a finger if they are not in addressing the financial needs of our state.

Certainly, there are serious, divisive issues facing members of Congress including the Iraq war and global warming. These national and international issues deserve their attention. Yet, there are serious state issues including a crumbling goods movement network, under-funded mass transit projects, a water infrastructure on the brink of disaster, and a serious housing shortage in many urban areas that our California Congressional Delegation must aggressively address.

As former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill famously remarked, “all politics is local.” That should be the California Congressional Delegation’s mantra for 2008 and beyond.

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.


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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