There have been countless complaints from the public that our elected officials lack direction. Community leaders, editorial writers, and even a prominent former candidate have made numerous requests that the candidates for Mayor offer detailed solutions to our City's many problems. In fact, Angelenos should be demanding honesty in pinpointing the problems, realistic and detailed solutions, and a plan to implement those solutions. In the coming weeks, I will be publishing my detailed plan to make LA great again.
Many details of my plan will be published here and through other outlets. The Downtown News acknowledged this about my campaign: "he regularly puts out statements and has released more detailed plans and position papers than his established competitors, City Council members Jan Perry and Eric Garcetti and City Controller Wendy Greuel."
In addition to a fiscal solvency plan for the City, topics I will address include homelessness, education, medical marijuana, the environment, transportation, the entertainment industry, public/private partnerships, development issues, animal services, and the NFL stadium.
I am opening my series now with an introduction to my jobs plan.
It was admitted in the Mayor's most recent State of the City address that the City's unemployment rate is now over 13%, a number which does not include those that have stopped looking for work or the underemployed.
To grow employment in Los Angeles, I will take a "business improvement package" directly to the voters if necessary. In order to obtain business tax reform I will be presenting a business improvement package to the City Council immediately upon taking office. It will contain two primary parts: (1) business tax reform; and (2) streamlining the permitting process.
The business improvement package will include the elimination of the burdensome "gross receipts" method of calculating the City's business tax and a complete revision of the way the business tax is formulated. The City's most recent Business Tax Advisory Committee has done a good job of demonstrating how burdensome the City's business tax has become. But while the Council "ponders" ways to implement BTAC's recommendations, businesses continue to leave our City. The time for real reform, not simply window-dressing, is long overdue.
My plan will contain a fair and equitable across-the-board reduction in our business tax burden and simplification of our business tax structure. The Los Angeles business tax will finally be brought in line with the most business-friendly cities in the region in order to make LA competitive again.
Unlike other big cities in America that have suffered a mass exodus of jobs, Los Angeles is unique in its ability to bring lost jobs back. Because of our geographic location, our climate, our port, and our pool of talent, our potential for growth in a number of sectors remains strong -- in trade, technology, transportation, entertainment, manufacturing, and small business.
I will create an environment for private business that provides relief from the City's current obstructionist stream of permitting red-tape which can force businesses through an unnecessary and impossible maze of up to 15 City departments. This will be done by creating a Permit Center which will accelerate previous progress made through the City's Case Management Series office, and will bring in representatives from the key City departments needed to implement effective improvements in permitting. A model to consider is the City of Dallas’ Permit Center. Dallas was recently determined by 85 percent of the City's businesses to be a "good" or "excellent" place to do business.
While I will vastly improve the permitting process, I recognize its importance and the direct relationship it has to public safety. The community must and will have an important say in development decisions and the opportunity to be heard and respected when new projects are proposed. The current practice in City Hall has been to ignore the community in favor of well-connected insiders. I will also expand the City's current program of contracting with businesses that are located within City limits.
The City Council's previous attempts at business tax reform have failed. While the City is flirting with it again, the Council is showing signs of backing off because of potential opposition from a majority of the Council. If the Council fails to approve the business improvement package I present, I will take these reforms directly to the voters by obtaining the signatures to put them on the ballot, and will use my ten years of media experience to get them passed.
A fair and equitable across-the-board reduction in our business tax and simplification of its structure will make operating any business easier and encourage new businesses to come. The increase in volume will cause an increase in business tax revenue, sales tax revenue, utility users’ tax revenue, parking users’ tax revenue, and even revenue from licenses, permits, fees and fines. In other words, we will see an increase from numerous sources of general fund revenue.
My opponents' new-found warmth for the private sector is hollow. They each have built careers in chasing the private sector away. Even the LA Times noted this in a recent front-page story. For example, the Hollywood district recently lost its largest single employer when LegalZoom moved to Glendale.
Furthermore, my opponents have also proven that even when the federal government gave them over $100 million of taxpayer funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act earmarked for job creation, their policies still drove jobs away.
My plans, proposals, ideas and solutions are a work-in-progress -- and it is a process that, unlike my opponents, I am willing to have with you in the public eye and with media scrutiny. I am willing to put everything on the table, and not hide it in the back room. I welcome your input. Putting LA back on track is a team effort. And you know and I know that we need new team members.
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