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Friday, Jun 9, 2023

Orange Lines, Ciders and Tax Breaks

In the heyday of holiday travel and stressful mornings in the kitchen, we often forget that Thanksgiving celebrates that autumn day in 1621 when the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag enjoyed the colony’s first successful harvest. And thus began the colony’s first real industry – agriculture. In this way, Thanksgiving was really the basis of business and commerce for the colonies and is the first thing that the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA) is thankful for this holiday season. Here are five more things VICA and the Valley business community should be thankful for: 1. Valley residents may eventually be able to comfortably take the Orange Line to their in-laws’ home for the holidays This month Mayor Eric Garcetti signed a city resolution that calls for the repeal of the “Robbins Bill” – a 22-year-old state Senate bill that prohibited a light-rail along what is now the Orange Line route. Therefore, the Orange Line bus system developed as a last resort. The city’s resolution is the first major step taken toward repealing the bill that created an overcrowded bus line that is at double its capacity. We’re thankful for the possibility that in the future we can lug our pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce onto a light rail system. 2. The Detroit Lions can no longer file claims in California for their Thanksgiving Day bruises Up until now, out-of-state retired professional athletes could claim damages for cumulative injuries sustained partially in California. So when the Lions perennially get smashed by their Turkey Day opponents, they may later claim their injuries were really sustained in California with its generous workers’ comp system. The practice of out-of-state athletes filing claims in California was costing billions in workers’ comp fees, paid out by all businesses through their workers’ compensation insurance. VICA is thankful that the State Legislature closed this loophole, leaving the Lions to the devices of Michigan’s workers’ comp system. 3. A potential influx of Thanksgiving television specials filmed in this region One of VICA’s Legislative Priorities for 2013 was to incentivize more filming in the state and region. We are thankful for the Los Angeles City Council’s passage of an ordinance to waive permitting fees for pilots that film in the city – which will hopefully re-grow our area’s biggest industry after losing out to other states. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will never come to Los Angeles but at least more television pilots will. 4. A better Black Friday shopping experience with the Westfield incentive One of the most efficient ways to create jobs and stir the economy is development, which is why VICA was grateful that the Los Angeles City Council approved a potential $59 million tax break to speed up construction of community benefits around its Village at Westfield Topanga project – including shuttle services, traffic improvements, crosswalks and customer service kiosks. Westfield will be able to finish the project – which connects the Westfield Topanga and Westfield Promenade malls and add a 158-room hotel, a Costco and office buildings – in the next three years, instead of the originally projected 25 years. So your Black Friday plans may change for 2016. 5. The possibility of new apple and pumpkin ciders on the market Currently, California breweries must possess a Type 01 license for the production of beer and a Type 02 license for wine. But a single facility cannot manufacturer multiple types of beverages (such as beer and cider), even if it had the capacity to do so. VICA and brew lovers statewide are grateful for AB 779, which allows a licensed beer manufacturer to manufacture cider and perry, a pear cider, at the licensed premises of production. With any luck we’ll eventually see a greater variety of ciders made right here in the Valley to stock up on for the holiday. Hopefully next Thanksgiving VICA can be thankful for extended state film credits, a flexible work week, meaningful CEQA reform and greater funding for Valley transportation. We’ll be pulling out the wishbone to make those happen. The Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA) is a business advocacy organization based in Sherman Oaks that represents employers throughout the Los Angeles County region at the local, state and federal levels of government.

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