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THU | Jan. 8
Building a 21st Century Workforce Business Leader Meeting
FRI | Jan. 9
Health Care Committee Meeting
MON | Jan. 12
L.A. City Council 5th District Candidates Forum
TUE | Jan. 13
L.A. Export Series: Session 1
WED | Jan. 14
Aviation Committee Meeting
THU | Jan. 15
Jobs & Business Growth Committee Meeting
THU | Jan. 15
Education & Workforce Development Committee Meeting
TUE | Jan. 20
International Trade & Investment Committee Meeting
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.
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We are enjoying some badly needed rain in Southern California, but the financial forecast is gloom and doom in Sacramento. $42 billion is the revised budget deficit projected through 2010. Wall Street just lowered California’s bond rating. All infrastructure projects in the state will cease construction within months. And most of the state government will shut down sometime this spring unless the legislature passes a budget.
Forget about a state stimulus package to spur our economic recovery, Sacramento is now trying to hitch a ride on the federal bailout. Washington, D.C. is attempting to address our future in a relatively bi-partisan manner, yet California state lawmakers are stuck fighting the same inter-party battles.
The state budget crisis has been a recurring topic in this column for more than a year and I am tired of writing about it. During that time, the only changes in the scenario have been external to Sacramento, not inside the Capitol. In addition to a skyrocketing budget deficit we now have a global economic recession making life even more difficult for millions of Californians. However, lawmakers still cannot bridge their political divide.
What’s even more troubling is that the solutions to this state budget crisis are already on the table. There has to be significant spending reductions coupled with significant new revenue - period. The cuts have to be made carefully to harm as few citizens and businesses as possible. And the new revenue has to be generated in a way that has the least negative impact on the recovery of our economy. Holding the hard line on “no new taxes” is ignoring reality. So too is denying the fact that state government is spending more money than the taxpayers can afford to pay.
Will California government grind to a halt entirely in 2009? Will all taxpayer-funded construction projects cease when we can no longer sell our infrastructure bonds? Will we continue to look to Washington, D.C, for a bailout because we cannot help ourselves?
Only our state lawmakers can answer those questions. Unfortunately, Californians everywhere are losing confidence in their ability to do so.
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.
Gary Toebben, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
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