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The Number

In a survey of its members, Los Angeles County Business Federation found “taxes and fees” rank as the biggest concern for businesses. BizFed is a lobbying alliance of 170 trade groups, chambers of commerce, business improvement districts and independent companies. It has conducted the Pulse Poll annually for 10 years, and for the last eight, “taxes and fees” has held the No. 1 spot among hot-button issues. Tracy Hernandez, chief executive at BizFed, said that during the Great Recession, governments as well as businesses were scrambling for money. With the state government running a $25 billion deficit and California cities declaring bankruptcy, public officials moved to increase revenue. “Every level of government raised taxes – cities, county and state,” Hernandez said. “It was a cumulative impact.” The reason taxes and fees remain a top issue, Hernandez believes, is that governments have raised fees. The construction industry, for example, has been hit with new permit fees and infrastructure bond assessments. “It has been nonstop trying to build stuff, so more infrastructure costs are added,” she explained. “Businesses are telling us about the fees.” The poll also found that high taxes and fees were the biggest factor for companies to leave the state or L.A. County, cited by 81 percent of respondents. Hernandez said that if a company moves from California to a low- or no-income tax state, it could boost its bottom line by 10 percent. “For a lot of companies, their margins are tight and that’s the difference between making money or not,” she said. BizFed said it advocates phasing out the city of L.A.’s gross receipts tax and opposes increases in taxes and fees that do not directly contribute to infrastructure or other needed investment. – Joel Russell

Joel Russel
Joel Russel
Joel Russell joined the Los Angeles Business Journal in 2006 as a reporter. He transferred to sister publication San Fernando Valley Business Journal in 2012 as managing editor. Since he assumed the position of editor in 2015, the Business Journal has been recognized four times as the best small-circulation tabloid business publication in the country by the Alliance of Area Business Publishers. Previously, he worked as senior editor at Hispanic Business magazine and editor of Business Mexico.
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