This week, 225 business and community leaders from Southern California will be in Washington, D.C. lobbying for an agenda that shines a spotlight on job creation, infrastructure development and education. While the focus of Congress this week is on health care reform, the Southern California delegation will remind members of Congress and the Administration that California has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation and a bipartisan effort is essential to putting Americans back to work.

The delegation will present 39 different recommendations of advocacy priorities in the areas of aviation, economic recovery, energy, environment and green jobs, education, health care, homelessness, housing, immigration reform, transportation and goods movement and workforce development.


At the top of our advocacy agenda is support for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s 30/10 proposal to finance the construction of 12 high-impact transit projects in 10 years rather than 30 years. An advance loan from the federal government would be paid back by Metro by pledging the receipts from the one-half cent sales tax approved by voters in November 2008. The proposal would speed up traffic relief in Los Angeles County and reduce our unemployment rate without adding to the federal deficit or placing federal tax dollars at risk. It is a funding mechanism that the federal government should endorse for Los Angeles County and other local governments who are willing to pledge dedicated tax revenue toward infrastructure projects.

Other infrastructure investments being advocated by the Southern California delegation include immediate action on the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization bill to provide funding for improvements at LAX, support for the Bay-Delta Water Conservation Plan passed by the California Legislature, and the inclusion of Positive Train Control (PTC) funding in the FY2011 appropriations bill to provide the technology necessary to prevent train collisions such as the 2008 Chatsworth Metrolink disaster.

To spur job creation by small businesses, the delegation will be promoting the extension of the Federal Empowerment Zone Tax Credits which are set to expire in 2010, banking regulations that encourage small business loans and the streamlining of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) loan guarantee program for developing renewable energy generation projects.

Education advocates will focus on support for the Administration’s Early Childhood Proposal, reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and passage of the Student Aid Act for college access.

The delegation will also make recommendations regarding the National Housing Trust Fund and how to coordinate existing housing programs for low-income and homeless populations to maximize the construction of permanent supportive housing.

Together, we are spreading the message that in order to spur our nation’s economic recovery, Southern California must be one of the engines. Because as last week’s California unemployment rate of 12.5 percent pointed out once again, economic recovery begins with a job.


And that’s The Business Perspective.