Of LA County’s top 25% most populated cities, nearly 1/3 have implemented state incentive zones, and over 1/3 have implemented their own, local incentive zones.
Businesses need our help to grow! According to the 2015 Business Climate Survey, the top five things that businesses stated would be helpful for them to grow over the next three years were:
- Access to qualified job applicants
- Research on the local labor market and salary survey information
- Training for existing employees
- Transportation solutions
- Permit and entitlement assistance
Business “friendliness”, or “unfriendliness”, is not something that can be easily measured. Yet, we have the opportunity to develop policies that lay a welcome mat to businesses looking to locate or expand in our region.
The most business-friendly policies cities can undertake are also the least costly:
- Make businesses feel valued through improved customer-facing policies
- Engage regularly
- Be accountable
- Implement transparency and reliability in rulemaking
“Through his love of film and the entertainment industry, Jason Crawford stumbled upon the field of economic development. A graduate of California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Jason was hired by the City of Santa Clarita as a “film guy” to help attract the film and TV industry and build programs to support the industry. That was 13 years ago, and now Jason is president of the California Association of Local Economic Developers, leads the team responsible for Santa Clarita’s success in receiving LAEDC’s 2016 Most Business Friendly City Award…”
Make economic development and business friendliness explicit priorities.
A. Educate local and state officials on the value of private sector businesses as generators of output, jobs and tax revenue, and encourage government officials to conduct economic impact assessments on regulations prior to adoption and after implementation.
B. Engage businesses regularly in the design, and administration of business-facing services, conduct regular site visits with businesses to be more responsive to their needs, and establish a uniform business prospect handling process that increases retention and recruitment efforts.
C. Develop and implement an analytically-based economic development element as part of a General Plan with benchmarks, performance measures, responsible parties and regular reviews.
D. Use reliable data, business satisfaction surveys and international benchmarking to inform the design of economic development programs and services.
Embrace local coordination but a regional focus, approach and collaboration in economic development activities.
A. Engage in healthy intra-regional competition, but adopt a “no raid” policy to avoid rivalries that pit one community against another, as well as mobilize around region-wide collaborative efforts to secure major federal and state projects, and build more effective working relationships between local, regional and state economic development practitioners.
B. Coordinate and support effective marketing activities across the region, branding L.A. locally and globally, and highlighting its most business-friendly cities using a “LEED”-type rating for business-friendly cities based on an array of factors in addition to the cost of doing business.
Cut red tape and keep costs of doing business competitive with other regions.
A. Provide easily accessible, online information regarding tax and other incentives, site selection services and procurement opportunities.
B. Provide businesses with certain fee waivers, especially small businesses that support well-paying jobs, as well as adopt strategies to help employers balance the costs and benefits of increases in minimum wages.
C. Establish clear and consistent taxation, regulation and code enforcement policies; provide timely and easy-to-follow permit, entitlement, and online business license approval processing; and offer zoning confirmation letters, development flow charts with timelines and costs, 24/7 online project status tracking, and parallel processing of permits.
Implement industry-targeted incentives, special zones and other programs for key industries.
A. Establish one-stop centers for technical, financial and regulatory assistance for small businesses, leveraging technical and financial support from the private sector.
B. Adapt antiquated gross receipts tax structures to the modern economy.
C. Adopt model ordinances and best practices for key industries.
D. Institute facade improvement programs to remove blight and improve commercial and industrial building appearances by assisting businesses and commercial/industrial property owners.