At a time when local government must reinvent its approach to job creation, the City of Los Angeles made two major strides recently.
The L.A. City Council unanimously approved the L.A. Area Chamber’s proposed Office of Economic Analysis and also endorsed the L.A. County Strategic Plan for Economic Development. Both are important opportunities to make good policies that incentivize business growth in our City.
The Office of Economic Analysis will finally give City officials the information they need to evaluate whether a proposed policy will drive businesses away or encourage them to invest even more in Los Angeles. Under the new program, the City will contract with respected, independent economists to study how proposed legislation would affect the business climate, job creation and overall economy.
Championed by City Council President Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Greig Smith, the City approved $250,000 in initial funding and will begin compiling a bullpen of respected economists to contract with on an as-needed basis. The Chamber’s ultimate goal is to make this office a permanent part of our city government to provide this type of evaluation on a wide-range of city policies and programs. In the meantime, the Chamber will be working with City Council members to make sure that policies deserving of this review are studied.
In the same week, the City Council also endorsed the L.A. County Economic Development Corporation’s county-wide Strategic Plan for Economic Development, an initiative to ensure that all 88 cities in L.A. County are regionally invested in how we grow our economy. The Chamber was proud to join more than 1,000 stakeholders from all perspectives in crafting this consensus document.
The strategic plan’s five main goals are to prepare an educated workforce, create a business-friendly environment, enhance our quality of life, implement smart land use policies and create a 21st Century infrastructure capable of handling the demands of more than 10 million residents. Special thanks to Councilmember Bernard Parks for his support.
These victories are important steps forward, but it is the responsibility of our elected officials and the business community to make sure that we put these tools to work. Programs and plans are great, but too many sit idle or aren’t utilized to their full potential. This is our moment to think and act differently. Let’s join hands and get to work!
Gary Toebben is President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce