By: Stuart Waldman
The end of the year is not just a time for reflection, but a chance to take a look at goals and priorities for the upcoming year. Many business leaders make New Year’s resolutions and set annual goals, and in that spirit VICA announces its 12 Legislative Priorities for 2012.
The list includes the top federal, state and local public policy issues that will receive special attention from VICA during the upcoming year. However, going against the notorious tradition of resolutions, VICA will stick to and follow through on these important items. The 12 priorities were vetted by the board of directors and general membership.
VICA will take a leadership role in the following public policy areas during 2012:
1. Support public pension reform that raises the retirement age, bans abusive practices such as “spiking” and “double dipping,” and ensures that public employees pay their fair share of pension costs. Public pension obligations are skyrocketing and governments are no longer able to handle the cost. This is an urgent matter for all taxpayers.
2. Lead the effort for business tax reform in the City of Los Angeles, including the elimination of the gross receipts tax. This is an ongoing battle for VICA and the business community is closer to a business tax-free city than it ever has been.
3. Push for California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) reform in order to eliminate project delays by external actors for political, business or personal purposes and extend AB 900 provisions to all projects. CEQA has been abused for disingenuous reasons; we must protect projects that will put people back to work.
4. Renovate key sections of the 101 and 405 freeways to relieve bottlenecks, increase roadway safety and enable quicker, more efficient transportation between the San Fernando Valley, downtown Los Angeles and the Westside. The city’s traffic issues are no secret and it is important to address the congestion that continues to cost business owners in lost productivity.
5. Advocate for a faster investment timeline for the $40 billion secured through Measure R to speed up construction of major transportation projects in the greater San Fernando Valley.
6. Assist with the planning process for the $1 billion in funding for 405 Corridor Mass Transit project through the Sepulveda Pass as part of America’s Fast Forward. This is one of the most congested sections of freeway in the nation, and improvements must be made to improve quality of life and commerce across the county.
7. Expand the State Film Production Tax credit to encourage more production in the state of California for films, TV and commercial production. This creates $3 in jobs for every $1 invested. We must protect this vital local industry.
8. Support the City of Los Angeles Planning Department’s efforts to consolidate the city zoning code and other long overdue reforms to make the system work. L.A.’s confusing and outdated zoning code must be revised to take contemporary issues into consideration.
9. Address California’s chronic water shortage to ensure that all Californians have an adequate and reliable source of water. Water is critically important and often overlooked. VICA is committed to ensuring it is a priority issue for our elected leaders.
10. Reinstate the flexible work week by allowing employees to work 40 hours during a given week instead of the current 8-hour workday. Workplace flexibility is an ongoing issue for VICA and we will continue to push for change in these laws.
11. Call for the modernization of the Los Angeles International Airport’s terminals, airfield and passenger amenities to create a more pleasant travel experience.
12. Request that the Legislature assess the higher education funding structure to better utilize federal funding mechanisms and balance public investment with affordability for students and their families.
VICA understands that these priorities are a significant undertaking but, at the same time, knows the importance of achieving these goals. Being at the forefront of many of these issues for several years, VICA is uniquely positioned to take the lead on these central policy issues. The business community deserves to see action in these areas and VICA will lead the charge.