County calls for more business friendliness

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Los Angeles County is aiming to be more business and job friendly after a motion introduced by Supervisor Kathryn Barger passed this week.

The county is looking to attract and retain more businesses and create and grow more jobs, according to Barger’s office.

“Business owners, entrepreneurs and innovators have dreams to grow and expand their businesses while creating a new future for consumers, employees, neighborhoods and communities,” Barger said in a statement. “Our goal as a county should be to support all of these endeavors, from the large corporations to the mom-and-pop establishments on Main Street.”

Since the motion was approved Tuesday, county staff will evaluate strategies to help create an environment for L.A. County business to flourish, according to Barger’s office.

The county will examine their current policies and programs and work with stakeholders to analyze them.

“We must continually reinvent ourselves as a county if we are to keep up with the changing dynamics of the marketplace,” Barger said.

County agencies will give their recommendations to the Board of Supervisors in six months.

For a government to ensure they are being business friendly, they must recognize the roles businesses play in the area they represent, according to Holly Schroeder, the president and CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation.

“It is important to make sure they are not taking businesses for granted and are appreciating what they do,” Schroeder said. “They should make an effort to understand their world and try to understand where the other person is coming from.”

Businesses should be valued by governments in part because they directly and indirectly contribute to tax revenue by paying their taxes and employing people who pay their own taxes, she said.

Being business-friendly is not going to happen unless all departments and stakeholders collaborate, according to Schroeder.

For instance, she said, planning departments could conceivably each look to do something different with one rooftop. If each individually approved plans it might interfere with one another and result in plans for a pool, an air conditioning unit, solar panels and an event space all on the same roof.

“Let’s get everybody in the same room and get everything on the table at once,” she said.

Keeping one’s goal at the forefront of conversations and not allowing administrative structures to become more important is key, Schroeder said.

Governments should work with businesses on a case-by-case basis and not stick to rigid rules that may not be applicable or may cause a conflict in a situation, she said.

“When any businesses or government is working on regulations, it’s important to remember that those are put in place for a purpose,” the president and CEO said. “It provides important context for any decision an agency makes.”

Ultimately, Schroeder said being business-friendly is not a one-time fix, but an ongoing effort.

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