Whether you’re taking a stroll down Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, hopping on the Red or Orange Line in North Hollywood, or driving down Laurel Canyon in Valley Village, you can see right away that Los Angeles is a great place to do business. Not just in the San Fernando Valley, but all across the city.
For the past 20 years, Los Angeles has enjoyed a net growth in new businesses, with 40,000 businesses created in 2013 alone. It is the education capital of the west, with 113 accredited colleges and universities, including some of the most prestigious academic institutions in the nation. It is recognized worldwide as a hub of entertainment and culture. In fact, one in seven LA area jobs are tied directly to that industry, created by countless businesses - some large, but the vast majority are small and family-owned. Los Angeles is also a manufacturing force, with a plethora of fashion, aerospace and pharmaceutical companies calling it home. Bobrick Washroom Equipment, Inc. in North Hollywood, a manufacturer of commercial products, is a perfect example and model of success for businesses throughout the city and country. Los Angeles is also a construction center, a growing technology company hub and tourism and trade powerhouse. LAX is the world’s fifth busiest airport. I could go on and on.
Despite the economic pluses, as a city government, our record of support for businesses is decidedly mixed.
Some things we do very well. In the past few years alone, we have enticed Yahoo to move from Santa Monica to Los Angeles, created more manufacturing jobs with Athens Services, passed a local preference ordinance to incentivize the city to do business with LA-based companies and passed targeted reforms to our business tax. These reforms cut tens of millions off the overall tax burden for the businesses that are required to pay the tax and also dramatically simplified the tax structure.
In other areas, we don’t do as well as we should. People who want to open businesses still get caught up in far too much red tape. And it is often unnecessarily challenging for current business owners to understand what our city’s current rules require them to do each year. In talking to business owners and employees alike, I have a good idea about where we can and must improve.
I believe that the city must continue to find ways to partner with the business community, not simply act as a barrier to economic growth and job creation. After all, positive business environment creates a positive job environment.
My objective is to develop the local economy in a way that employs large numbers of local residents in good-paying jobs, maintains businesses and industries that are mainstays of the LA economy, revitalizes underserved communities and creates industries likely to be critical in a 21st Century economy.
As the chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Job Creation (I like to call it the “Jobs Committee”), I am uniquely situated to pinpoint ways that Los Angeles can do exactly those things. The Jobs Committee exists to help the City Council develop a comprehensive plan to stimulate continued job growth and economic development in neighborhoods throughout the city.
The committee has held one successful meeting so far with more to come soon. Some of my overall goals for the committee are to address city policies that impede development and business growth, to centralize economic development projects and find ways to assist businesses in navigating the city’s bureaucracy, to create jobs and economic development incentive zones and to discover new ways to use the city’s purchasing power to stimulate growth.
This is a working committee that is goal oriented. We are going to dig deeply into the way the city does business with the business community and find ways to improve it - all to ensure continued job and economic growth for our city.
If you have ideas, input or experiences to share, I want to hear from you. Please email me at [email protected] to find out about upcoming meetings.