The business community often complains about L.A. City Hall’s lack of action to make Los Angeles more business friendly for job creators. This week, I am pleased to extend congratulations to City officials for their recent actions on five of the L.A. Area Chamber’s top business and budget priorities.
On the jobs front, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council approved a three-year tax holiday for all new businesses that open in Los Angeles over the next 36 months. This incentive is especially important for startups and small businesses, and could create more than 55,000 new jobs, according to a recent report by the USC Marshall School of Business.
At the same meeting, the Council approved a taxpayer’s bill of rights, and voted to move forward with an independent economic analysis of comprehensive business tax reforms. The reforms to be studied include a 60 percent reduction in the City’s gross receipts tax for businesses in the highest tax category. The recommendations originated with the volunteer Business Tax Advisory Committee appointed by Mayor Villaraigosa and the City Council last year.
The Council also addressed two of the most politically contentious issues at City Hill – public pension reform and contracting out non-vital city services. During a lengthy conversation, City officials confirmed the gloomy picture of L.A.’s pension liability and projected that the City’s obligation for pensions and health care for retirees would eat up more than one-third of the City’s general fund by 2015.
Finally, the City Council voted 9-5 to contract out the City’s ambulance service billing and collections to a private firm. The fire department and the City’s chief administrative officer both supported the contract, since it will save money and would generate more revenue through better delinquent collections.
Some of these actions will have an immediate impact, while others represent a starting point. Collectively, they demonstrate that Mayor Villaraigosa and the City Council have the power and the will to make our City more business-friendly and fiscally responsible.
To Mayor Villaraigosa and the City Councilmembers who voted in support of these actions, thank you for taking a major step forward on many different fronts to encourage the creation of new jobs in Los Angeles.
We pledge to partner with you to see these important priorities over the finish line.