is rarely good news out of Sacramento. The perpetual budget crisis,
political stalemates and continuing cuts to vital programs can make
even the most optimistic of us wonder whether things will ever change.
So why, you might ask, is the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
investing the time, money and energy to take 100 business and community
leaders to Sacramento next week to meet with legislators and members of
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration?

We are going to remind Sacramento that all the solutions they seek
hinge on building our economy and creating more jobs by making
California more business-friendly. It is people with jobs and growing
businesses that generate the tax revenue that legislators in Sacramento
need to balance the budget.

For most in the private sector, we’ve been operating our businesses and
homes differently for more than two years. The global recession forced
us to reevaluate our business models and the decisions we make around
the kitchen table at home. We immediately reduced expenses and found
more efficient ways to meet the needs of our businesses and our
families. We did not have the option of operating in the red. The focus
turned to implementing long-term plans that brought us back to basics
with a strategy on how to survive – and thrive – once the recovery

In Sacramento, our lawmakers have grappled with the most challenging
set of economic circumstances in 70 years. The deficit is mind boggling
and legislators are hamstrung by a state budget in which most of the
spending has been mandated by voters through years of ballot
initiatives. No one runs for office wanting to cut education or health
care for children. Throw in the constant campaigns and hyper-partisan
atmosphere and you have the recipe for intractability.

That’s why now is the most important time – and opportunity – for
businesses and Californians of all stripes to push for long-overdue
improvements to our State’s business climate. Modernizing state
workplace regulations for the 21st Century economy, pushing for
investment incentives rather than tax mandates, and developing a
long-term economic development strategy are keys to generating more tax
revenue to address our State’s problems.

The L.A. Area Chamber will be taking 100 members and job creators to Sacramento this week to push for these priorities along with other recommendations
in our economic recovery agenda. We have not given up on the ability
of the Governor and California Legislature to partner with business to
create new jobs and a growing tax base. The legislature has proved they
can partner with environmentalists and they can partner with labor. Now
is the time to partner with businesses so that Californians, like the
rest of the nation, can prosper from an economic recovery.