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Tuesday, Aug 16, 2022
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Tax Reform an Example of How Things Should Be

Well, as you can see by our top story on the front page of this issue, the L.A. City Council has unanimously passed long-awaited business tax reform,about six weeks earlier than I thought they would. And there seems to be no negativity within city hall or the business community about the move. Mayor James Hahn said he’ll sign it. Businesspeople say it’s definitely a step in the right direction and they appreciate the politicians actually doing something that’s not going to go against them. Other politicians say it’s good although it’s just the beginning of getting Los Angeles and California to be totally business friendly. Such moments haven’t come along often in state and local politics as of late all sides involved in an issue see the greater good and go about achieving that goal. The politicians ask their constituents (in this case the business community) to help them get where they want to go, in this case with tax reform. There are compromises and a workable plan is passed. Amazing, it actually works. I’d like to applaud City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel and Councilman Eric Garcetti for leading the way on this at city hall. They acted like the representatives they were elected to be. They recognized that the L.A. business tax system was really hurting our city and economy and didn’t give up until something was done about it. They changed things. So many of our elected officials don’t do anything but talk about changing things. Thank you both for your insight and hard work. Thanks also to some Valley business leaders, especially Mel Kohn and Marvin Selter, who took the reins of the Business Tax Advisory Committee (BTAC) and made sure we got this reform. These guys are true community leaders who are owed our gratitude. But, please, let’s not think that this business tax reform vote means everything is perfect with L.A. business. We probably need further tax reform and as you read in another front page story in this issue, our infrastructure (i.e. the horrible traffic we have) is at a breaking point and is affecting local companies in a big way. Then there are the crucial state issues such as workers’ compensation that are killing firms all over California. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but L.A. is better because of the teamwork of city officials and the business community over business tax reform. Those Letters Some people had their say, so now it’s my turn. The commentary page of our previous two Business Journal issues were filled with letters from readers who were engaging the brouhaha that was caused by a story we wrote in October about neighborhood councils. Some thought our article was negative and unfair to the councils. Some also objected to one of our sources’ quotes in the article. I’m not going to dredge up what was said in the story. It really is beside the point. I’m just going to engage a few other things. First of all, I was criticized by several people for running letters that were “way too long.” I heard comments like, “who cares, you should have edited them.” I want to tell readers that I actually did edit some of the letters because they contained personal attacks that I felt were way beyond what should be said in a normal discourse within our professional business community. I was taken aback by how personal some of the letter writers got in their discourses about the subject. Frankly, some of the letters that arrived in my e-mail and fax I felt were unprofessional and way too personal. Just my opinion, but minus the personal attacks I ran the letters as they were sent to me because I believe that our readers should be able to use the Business Journal as a forum of public discussion. There’s not that many avenues in the Valley for this. That’s why I published those long letters. Our readers wanted to say something and as editor I have no business censoring what a reader wants to say (within reason, i.e. personal attacks that I mentioned). It’s called freedom of speech, by the way. Anyone disagree with that concept? If you do, write a letter and I’ll publish it. Business Journal Editor Jason Schaff can be reached at (818) 316-3125

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