Los Angeles Business Journal

L.A.’s Work in Creating Jobs Pays Dividends

OP-ED By ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA Monday, October 31, 2011

For too long, L.A. businesses have been stolen from us by other cities and states. The result has been a calamitous decline in both jobs and tax revenues in our city, causing huge strains on our budget and endangering our ability to provide basic city services. For example, since 1986, an astonishing 100 auto dealers have left Los Angeles, costing the city up to $57 million in revenue each year.

We are fighting back, and starting to see real results. Two years ago, after the historic economic downturn, which hit California and Los Angeles particularly hard, we redoubled our efforts to recruit job-creating companies to Los Angeles. I built a team focused 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on growing our economy and creating jobs. Working with business and civic leaders across the city, we implemented a five-point plan to bring good jobs and world-class employers to Los Angeles:

(1) Reforming our business tax.

(2) Reducing bureaucratic red tape.

(3) Making sure local tax dollars fuel local jobs.

(4) Securing our future as a global trade hub by modernizing Los Angeles International Airport and the Port of Los Angeles.

(5) Accelerating infrastructure jobs by building a 21st century transportation network.

A healthy environment for job creation is the best medicine for strengthening our city. By creating local jobs, we will build a more robust and diverse revenue base to support the services Angelenos deserve.

Two weeks ago, I signed a Local Preference Ordinance that will spur local job creation by leveling the playing field for local businesses competing for city contracts. We hope this new tool, along with the Business Tax Holiday we implemented last year, will make Los Angeles an easier place to create jobs.

We’re leveraging assets like advertising space at LAX to win business. We are making strategic use of federal grants to bring world-class firms to Los Angeles.

Using federal community development block grants, which are designed to help lift communities out of poverty and create jobs, we persuaded two quintessentially L.A. companies to move to downtown.

BYD, China’s premier global, high-tech green company focused on developing electric vehicle technologies and efficient alternative energy sources, has chosen downtown to locate its North American headquarters. The new facility, along the Figueroa Corridor, will bring an estimated 150 green-collar engineering and management jobs to Los Angeles and hundreds of indirect jobs. In 2010, BYD was ranked the eighth most innovative company in the world.

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