Bass Inks Business-Friendly Directive

Bass Inks Business-Friendly Directive
Leader: Mayor Karen Bass has vowed to help area businesses prosper.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass last week signed an executive directive to identify hidden city taxes and fees on business, with an eye toward reducing or eliminating as many of them as possible.

The executive directive also creates a committee comprised of representatives from various city departments to evaluate the state of commerce in the city and recommend strategies to promote investment in and growth of local businesses.

The directive stems from a promise Bass made during her campaign for mayor last year to make the city more welcoming to business – both businesses already here and those looking to set up shop in the city.

“On the campaign trail, I heard from the business community… that City Hall has been openly hostile to them,” Bass told the Business Journal earlier this year.

“I get it,” she continued. “My message to the businesses in Los Angeles is that the city is open for business, and we are willing to do what it takes to retain existing businesses and attract new ones.”

Shortly after taking office in December, Bass named as her economic development deputy Rachel Freeman – a former executive with Tejon Ranch Co. and the Los Angeles County Business Federation – and immediately tasked her with putting in motion this directive to review the books of all city departments that interact with businesses and identify all taxes and fees imposed on businesses.

“We’re preparing an executive order to review these fees and taxes – some of which are likely quite antiquated – with an eye toward eliminating or streamlining them,” Freeman told the Business Journal in April.

The directive is primarily aimed at making the city more amenable to the estimated 460,000 businesses operating within city boundaries. To carry this out, it sets up a committee composed of representatives from city departments that will be led by the mayor’s office of business and economic development.

The first task of this committee is to have all representatives review the taxes and fees imposed by their respective departments and “identify reasonable reductions that can be made to promote business creation and growth.”

The commitee is also ordered to evaluate the costs of doing business with the city, assess and recommend ways to reduce timelines for starting or expanding a business, and examine best practices of other major cities for retaining and attracting businesses.

Bass directed the committee to report back to her office its initial findings within 90 days.

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