L.A. Area Chamber

    TUESDAY | July 15, 2008





Coming up
at the Chamber

View all upcoming events on our Web calendar.

WED | July 16
International Trade & Investment Committee Meeting
more info

FRI | July 18
Accenture Pancakes & Politics Breakfast Speaker Series
Featuring L.A. City Controller Laura Chick
more info

MON | July 21
Small Business Council
Seizing Business Opportunities with the State of California
more info

TUE | July 22
Referral Network
Grow Your Business
more info

WED | July 23
Land Use, Construction & Housing Committee Meeting
more info

THU | July 24
Transportation & Goods Movement Committee Meeting
more info

THU | July 24
Energy, Water & Environment Committee Meeting
more info

THU | July 24
Education & Workforce Development Committee Meeting
more info

THU | July 24
L.A.'s Largest Mixer X
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


Last week’s Democratic proposal for $9.7 billion in new taxes was not only disappointing from an economic standpoint, it sent a clear message that state lawmakers are not willing to address the underlying problems which created the budget deficit in the first place.

The tax proposal includes more than $6 billion in higher income taxes and increased franchise taxes on California businesses. Every study shows that California is already too reliant on income taxes and that this highly volatile source of revenue is at the heart of the peaks and valleys of our current budget problem.

Absent from last week’s proposal is a significant commitment to spending reductions and solutions that address the unsustainable budget process that created this mess. There is no plan to rein in spending, which will continue to grow faster than revenue. There is no plan to ensure that state programs are funded based on the quality of their performance rather than how much money they received in the previous year. And there is no plan to build a larger emergency reserve fund to help the state meet its financial obligations during an economic downturn.

The failure extends across the aisle to Republicans as well. Republicans have not presented any real proposals that combine spending reductions and revenue enhancements to address the deficit. The power to say no is a heavy tool, but it will not be sufficient to solve our state deficit. There must be some yeses as well.

Last month, more than 100 Chamber members met with dozens of state lawmakers and urged them to address the budget crisis in a bipartisan fashion. The response from both sides of the political aisle was downright depressing. Republicans blamed Democrats for spending too much while saving too little. Democrats blamed Republicans for supporting spending cuts to health care and education while not offering up revenue solutions on how to shrink the budget deficit. And no one seemed to be talking to each other.

We cannot ignore the fact that California voters shoulder some of the responsibility. Over the years, we’ve approved a number of ballot initiatives that established mandatory spending formulas, which are difficult or impossible for the Legislature to adjust during tough economic times. But there is much within the Legislature’s control and this is the moment to agree on that action—even if it means angering a supporter or reaching across the aisle to work toward a compromise solution in which both sides can declare victory.

The unanswered question 60 days before the state runs out of money is whether state lawmakers— elected to develop and pass a state budget each year—are capable of doing more than pointing fingers at each other. 

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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