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Thursday, Aug 18, 2022
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VICA Chairman Lays Groundwork For Group’s 2005 Lobbying Tasks

At its 55th annual meeting newly re-elected Valley Industry and Commerce Association Chairman Martin M. Cooper laid forth a plan for the coming year, which will see the business advocacy group lobbying for change in the healthcare system, local infrastructure and other high-profile issues. Recently, VICA and other groups helped push the city council into accepting the Greuel-Garcetti tax reform bill, enacting serious business tax reform five years after the creation of the Business Tax Advisory Committee. Cooper said that the collaboration between business groups and politicians that made business tax reform a success is a model he’d like to use in solving future problems. Cooper said that VICA will be putting more pressure on Los Angeles’ state representatives to look out for the city as a whole. “We’ll work to make sure that the Valley gets its fair share of city money, and that L.A. gets its fair share of state money,” Cooper said. “(Los Angeles’ assemblymembers and senators) don’t’ vote as a block and they don’t work as a block. It’s Republicans versus Democrats, and we can’t live with that luxury anymore.” Cooper said that VICA is also looking into changing the term limit rules for elected representatives. He said that although the group supports them in principle, the current limits put too much pressure on representatives without allowing for the development of seasoned legislatures who understand their house. “If Assemblymembers in Sacramento can only run once or twice for re-election, how much institutional knowledge can there be?” Cooper said. A trip to Washington D.C. is also tentatively scheduled for the beginning of May, to discuss the federal deficit, Social Security and Medicare reform. The group’s newsletter also suggests VICA may push for “continuing, in perpetuity , the Bush tax cuts, the elimination of the estate tax and federal efforts to allow for the use of hybrid vehicles in the carpool lanes of interstate highways, regardless of the vehicle’s occupancy.” With local advocacy naturally taking up a vast majority of VICA’s time, Cooper said the group’s membership will continue to look for solutions in the city’s health care crisis. “Health care is a clear priority, we have the nurse-patient ratios, Medicare issues and a lot of other issues that impact the health care arena,” Cooper said. He added that in a recent meeting one of VICA’s vice chairs, who is a general manager of one of the local hospitals, said that “unless we get some of these issues solved, they’re going to have a hard time even staying in business.” Cooper said that VICA will also be putting pressure on city leaders to ensure that Proposition 42 funds are used for their intended purpose. “We don’t want money legally set aside for highway repairs to continue to be raided by the general fund,” he said. “We are practically at gridlock on our streets and freeways.”

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