Gary Toebben is the President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. For more, visit Fox & Hounds Daily
There is rarely good news out of Sacramento. The perpetual budget crisis, political stalemates and continuing cuts to vital programs can make even the most optimistic of us wonder whether things will ever change.
So why, you might ask, is the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce investing the time, money and energy to take 100 business and community leaders to Sacramento this week to meet with legislators and members of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration?
We are going to remind Sacramento that all the solutions they seek hinge on building our economy and creating more jobs by making California more business-friendly. It is people with jobs and growing businesses that generate the tax revenue that legislators in Sacramento need to balance the budget.
For most in the private sector, we’ve been operating our businesses and homes differently for more than two years. The global recession forced us to reevaluate our business models and the decisions we make around the kitchen table at home. We immediately reduced expenses and found more efficient ways to meet the needs of our businesses and our families. We did not have the option of operating in the red. The focus turned to implementing long-term plans that brought us back to basics with a strategy on how to survive – and thrive – once the recovery begins.
In Sacramento, our lawmakers have grappled with the most challenging set of economic circumstances in 70 years. The deficit is mind boggling and legislators are hamstrung by a state budget in which most of the spending has been mandated by voters through years of ballot initiatives. No one runs for office wanting to cut education or health care for children. Throw in the constant campaigns and hyper-partisan atmosphere and you have the recipe for intractability.
That’s why now is the most important time – and opportunity – for businesses and Californians of all stripes to push for long-overdue improvements to our State’s business climate. Modernizing state workplace regulations for the 21st Century economy, pushing for investment incentives rather than tax mandates, and developing a long-term economic development strategy are keys to generating more tax revenue to address our State’s problems.
The L.A. Area Chamber will be taking 100 members and job creators to Sacramento this week to push for these priorities along with other recommendations in our economic recovery agenda. We have not given up on the ability of the Governor and California Legislature to partner with business to create new jobs and a growing tax base. The legislature has proved they can partner with environmentalists and they can partner with labor. Now is the time to partner with businesses so that Californians, like the rest of the nation, can prosper from an economic recovery.