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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Los Angeles, CA 90017
The New Year brings new worries over the tightening economy and its impact on business, government and working families in Southern California. Our national economy is slowing with unemployment rising to 5 percent as the dollar continues to weaken. Locally, the writers’ strike is hurting many small businesses while the housing slump overtakes what was one of the fastest growing housing markets in the country.
Despite these challenges, Southern California is feeling the pinch comparably less than other major regions around the United States. The real test will be in 2008 as local governments and the state make strategic decisions to address declining tax revenues.
That is why we were very pleased that the Los Angeles City Council has established the new Jobs, Business Growth and Tax Reform Committee. We applaud City Council President Eric Garcetti and the new committee’s chair, Councilmember Greig Smith, for their leadership in making this happen. And, in the weeks ahead we look forward to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s vision for economic development when his Los Angeles Economy & Jobs Committee releases its recommendations.
As the city approaches policy issues in 2008, it is essential now, more than ever, that the mayor and city council ask three questions of every proposed policy or ordinance:
- What impact will the proposal have on the cost of doing business in L.A.?
- Will this proposal help or hinder the creation of jobs in L.A.?
- Will this proposal put L.A. at a competitive advantage or disadvantage to other cities?
Several years ago the Chamber proposed that the city require an Economic Impact Report for all new policies and ordinances. Much like an Environmental Impact Report, an Economic Impact Report would analyze the impact that proposals would have on L.A.’s economy, i.e. the businesses that operate in our community.
Unfortunately, decision makers in L.A. have too often taken the wrong road. Businesses have watched local lawmakers drive jobs out of the city by bowing to union pressure and imposing mandates like those facing grocery stores and hotels near the Los Angeles International Airport. This is a primary reason why L.A. has not added a single net new job in more than two decades. We hear much talk about the need for more affordable housing, but it takes longer and is more expensive today to build new workforce housing in L.A. than ever before. By moving towards the political center and taking real steps to incentivize business growth, our city’s elected officials can truly begin to keep jobs in L.A. and strengthen our middle class.
During 2008, our economy will come under increasing pressure and elected officials in California will need every business and individual taxpayer they can find to help pay the bills without raising taxes to further burden the economy. That is why the city council’s new Jobs, Business Growth and Tax Reform Committee is so important. And it's why we applaud the mayor for taking the first step toward making economic development and job creation a higher priority in his administration.
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 Senior Policy Advisor Rusty Hammer.
Gary Toebben, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
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