In what can temptingly be referred to as the "Tony and Arnold Show," Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, applauded earlier this week the re-affirmation of the East Los Angeles Enterprise Zone and the implementation of the three-year tax holiday for new businesses established in Los Angeles, both outcomes of the newly refocused Office of Economic and Business Policy.
Governor Schwarzenegger delivering remarks at the announcement of the Business Tax Holiday proposal. From left to right: Baxter BioScience Business Corporate Vice President and Baxter International President Joy A. Amundson, Los Angeles First Deputy Mayor and Chief Executive for Economic and Business Policy Austin Beutner, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles Councilmember Tom LaBonge. Photo Courtesy Peter Grigsby.
A healthy example of this public-private partnership is Baxter BioScience, a 50-year resident in the Mayor's native neighborhood of East Los Angeles.
Deadlines Not Headlines
The Mayor stated that the newly refocused L.A. Office of Economic and Business Policy has a new mantra, "...And that mantra is 'Deadlines, not headlines.' Our enterprise zones...We've gained the remarkable distinction of having the most acreage in the state with enterprise zone designation.
So if you're a business in L.A., coming to L.A. and paying taxes for the first time, for the next three years you're not going to pay business taxes so we can grow jobs here in the city of Los Angeles."
Vice President of Baxter BioScience, Joy Amundson noted the key role the company and its 3,000 employees have played in the California economy for the past 50 years: "Since 1953 we've been a cornerstone of the L.A. business community, right here, operating right here on Colorado Boulevard and San Fernando Road. For more than 50 years -- 50 years -- Baxter BioScience has played a significant role in elevating biotech."
Ms. Amundson emphasized the company's commitment to sustainability, pointing out that Baxter BioScience is recognized today as one of the 100 most sustainable corporations in the world.
"We're not just an ordinary company, ladies and gentlemen; we're biotech. We are the cream of the crop here in Los Angeles," continued Ms. Amundson, "Our technology helps patients who suffer from a range of medical conditions. In fact, this plant is the world's only producer of a therapy that treats infant botulism called BabyBIG."
Mayor Villaraigosa likes to point out that Los Angeles is positioned to be the "Greenest Big City in America."
According to Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner a recent study concluded, contrary to popular belief, that the three-year tax holiday for new businesses actually would spur enough job growth to create more tax revenue and that it wouldn't impact the budget because it's money the city is not currently collecting. The Tax Holiday is estimatedd to create 55,000 new jobs, with a 12 percent unemployment.
The Tony And Arnold Show
Mayor Villaraigosa: I recognize what it is to have a job and particularly a good-paying job like you have here at Baxter, what it is to be able to maintain your families.
Arnold Schwarzenegger: I think this is a very important move, that the local government and the state government worked together and showed great partnership. And as you can also see, I'm a Republican, he's a Democrat. There are Democrats and Republicans here. We all worked together because we don't care about the party; we care about one thing, to serve the people and to serve you, the workers, to keep the jobs here and to help businesses. That is the important thing for California and for Los Angeles.
Mayor Villaraigosa: Someone last night called me and said, "You know, your press conferences with the Governor are now almost done on a weekly basis. What's this about?"
I think the Governor said something very important. It's about jobs. I think people are tired of the partisanship you see in Sacramento, in Washington D.C. I just came back from the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Oklahoma City and the one thing every single mayor there laments is that partisanship, the inability to work together.
Well, this Governor, I can tell you, has delivered for Los Angeles and he's delivered for Los Angeles on a regular basis. And so every time he delivers, the least we could do is be here. And I want to acknowledge my friend, the governor of the great state of California, the man whose office helped us move through the bureaucracy and the red tape so that we could celebrate this day, my friend Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
And, of course, I'm always kissing up to him because he's only got about six more months in office. He's going to do another movie and he says he's going to put me in it when I'm out of a job. So, you know, this is good. And again, thank you, my friend and thank you for your leadership.
On June 15th in Sacramento, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger hosted a Summit on the Advanced Transportation Industry where he brought together industry leaders in new vehicle technologies, clean transportation fuels and electric and hybrid vehicles to discuss how California can remain the undisputed leader of advanced vehicle and alternative fuel research and development and green jobs.Photo by Justin Short.
The Governor also hosted his monthly display of alternative fuel vehicles at the
Governor's Summit on Advanced Transportation And Clean Energy Cars earlier this week in Sacramento:
Governor Schwarzenegger: When I came into office in 2003, I remember I asked our administration to go and have a display in the next auto show, in the next car show in Los Angeles of alternative-fuel vehicles. And at that point, the first display, I remember we had were two vehicles -- two.
Today when I walked around I was counting and there were 20 different vehicles.
Schnapps And Oil Don't Mix
The Governor asks the question, are we really addicted to oil?
Governor Schwarzenegger: I mean, one needs only to look to the Gulf of Mexico and the tragedy and what happens when you just rely on oil. And I think that this has really woken up everybody.
And it is shameful how desperate and how dependent we have become on fossil fuels. I mean, 95 percent of our transportation is done through fossil fuels and that's pitiful.
And I don't believe what Thomas Friedman said, when he said that we are addicted to oil, because I think there's a difference between having alternatives and you're addicted to one thing, you have to have this one thing. That's an addiction. Like if I have a choice to drink water versus schnapps but I continuously drink schnapps, then I have an alcohol problem and I should go to an addiction center to get rid of my addiction. But if I only have schnapps to drink, you know, then it's another thing.
We need an energy policy so that we know where our energy is coming from. Do we want to continue relying on countries and sending $400 billion a year to countries that hate us, or do we want to go in a different direction? I mean, that is really the question.