It’s time for L.A. to up the ante by attracting, retaining, and supporting businesses that create the job opportunities that Angelenos deserve. As Mayor, Bass will usher in a full-employment era, in which businesses and workers thrive in equal measure.
This period of economic growth paired with good-paying jobs will improve the performance of businesses big and small, lower the crime rate, improve mental health, and create a stronger sense of community across Los Angeles.
But we’re not there yet. Our economy was ravaged during the pandemic – businesses continue to struggle, and many have been forced to change their operations or shut their doors completely during the COVID crisis. Small businesses account for nearly half the jobs in our city. Their recovery is essential to our economic strength.
Bass is uniquely positioned to leverage opportunity out of crisis – because she’s done it before.
As Speaker of the Assembly during California’s greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, she brought together a Republican governor and Democratic legislature to protect the state from economic collapse – all while saving jobs and keeping education and healthcare intact. She received the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for her efforts.
That’s the same leadership she’ll bring to the Mayor’s Office.
In her conversations across the city, Bass has consistently heard one of two things: City Hall doesn’t care about business, or it’s openly hostile toward business. On Day One, she will make it crystal clear: Los Angeles is open for business.
A Bass administration will promote equitable, pro-growth policies that support L.A.’s small businesses and key industries – because it’s the only way we’ll tackle income inequality and our city’s affordability crisis.
As Mayor, Bass will invest in jobs, industries and communities that will drive L.A.’s economic future – and she will leverage her experience and relationships at the state and federal levels to bring funding to L.A. that supports that vision. Her plan will result in a safer, stronger, and more equitable Los Angeles.
LOS ANGELES WILL BE OPEN FOR BUSINESS
Karen Bass believes that if we are ever going to tackle income equality and create economic opportunity for all Angelenos, we need to support responsible businesses – small and large – that create good-paying jobs. As Mayor, she will create the conditions for success by making clear from the very top that the City of Los Angeles is open for business.
Create a New Real Estate Division in a Strengthened Economic and Workforce Development Department:
- Currently, the city’s economic development tools are scattered across departments and lack coordination. As Mayor, Bass will consolidate these functions in a strengthened Economic and Workforce Development Department that can set and execute citywide job creation and economic development goals. She will provide the department with the resources it needs to attract and retain business, and train Angelenos to reenter the workforce.
- Bass will also lead the creation of a new Real Estate division within the department to strategically manage L.A.’s extensive real estate portfolio. Too often, city-owned assets and land are underutilized or sit vacant for years. Bass will recruit the best and brightest minds in real estate to leverage our existing assets. Paired with smart land use planning, this strategic approach can help us build new housing, parks and community infrastructure – while simultaneously driving revenue to our city budget.
Launch a Jobs and Economy Cabinet and Empower a Deputy Mayor:
- Bass has always based policy around the direct needs of her constituents. In that tradition, she will launch a diverse Jobs and Economy Cabinet to hear directly from the business community about the challenges they face, and to support a pro-jobs agenda. This will not be a ceremonial body – it will help direct the mayor’s policy agenda. Bass will first task her Jobs and Economy Cabinet with completing a comprehensive review of local ordinances and policies with the goal of proposing alternatives or replacing those that prevent economic growth.
- The Jobs and Economy Cabinet will also advise on ways the city can attract private investment, corporate headquarters and the jobs that come with them, skilled talent, and strategies to better integrate into the global economy.
- As Mayor, Bass will empower a Deputy Mayor to act as a strong voice for the business community and economic growth in City Hall. This appointee will provide overall direction to the city’s economic development entities and ensure that all economic development activities advance a citywide strategy.
Consolidate City Procurement to Save Taxpayer Dollars:
- City Hall’s approach to procurement is backward. With some exceptions, each city department procures its own services, leading to inefficiencies and wasted taxpayer dollars. As Mayor, Bass will task the Chief Procurement Officer with streamlining and centralizing procurement processes. With this approach, we can leverage L.A.’s buying power to drive down costs and save taxpayer dollars.
Expand Procurement Opportunities for Local Small Businesses:
- Recall how difficult it was to procure critically needed PPE at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic – we should never be caught off guard like that again. Bass supports the new Regional Alliance Marketplace for Procurement (RAMP) portal that makes it easier for local businesses to learn about contracting opportunities, but she’ll take it further by adding teeth to the city’s Local Bid Preference policy. This policy provides additional weight in scoring for local businesses but many procurement opportunities either don’t consider it in their bids or the weighting isn’t sufficient to make a difference. We need to do everything in our power to keep businesses local. Bass will hire Procurement Navigators who will be dedicated to helping small businesses – as well as minority and women-owned businesses – navigate the city’s procurement process.
INVEST IN JOBS AND INDUSTRIES
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. More than two million people in L.A. – a majority of Angelenos – work for businesses with fewer than 100 employees. As Mayor, Bass will increase access to capital and technical assistance, cut burdensome regulations, and promote new opportunities for underrepresented businesses and entrepreneurs.
But we cannot grow our economy based on small businesses alone. L.A.’s legacy and emerging industries like entertainment, tech, life sciences, manufacturing and healthcare represent our city’s anchor tenants and economic drivers, and will be key to our growth. Bass will champion these industries and ensure they can thrive as good corporate citizens.
Stand Up a Small Business Team in the Mayor’s Office:
- Bass will create a Small Business Team in the Mayor’s Office to serve as an advocate for, and liaison to, L.A.’s small business community. They will work hand-in-hand with small business owners to help get their new ventures off the ground and continue to grow. They will also work directly with small businesses shuttered by the COVID-19 pandemic to help them open their doors again.
- The team will work to streamline city regulations to encourage and assist business growth, while leading the effort to attract and sustain small and medium-sized businesses. They will also offer technical assistance around real estate, business financing and loan programs, marketing and other services.
Launch a Multi-Million Dollar Fund to Provide Small Businesses With the Capital They Need to Launch and Grow:
- Many small business owners struggle to raise the financial capital they need to launch or expand their business. That challenge is compounded for many minority and women-owned businesses, who have been historically excluded from loan programs. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw that reality unfold when many small businesses didn’t receive federal PPP loans – simply because they lacked relationships with banks and financial institutions.
- That’s why as Mayor, Bass will convene the city’s banks and financial institutions to launch a multi-million dollar fund with the sole purpose of providing access to capital for small businesses. These dollars will mean the difference between launching or not, staying open or not, and they will directly employ Angelenos.
Establish a Small Business Recovery Fund:
- Bass understands that property crimes devastate families and small businesses. Bass will increase foot and bike patrols where requested, partner with Business Improvement Districts, and ensure that new state funding is dedicated to the creation of a Small Business Recovery Fund – which will help small businesses recover from smash and grab crimes. Bass will also target resources to assist small businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic.
Make it Easier for Small and Minority-Owned Businesses to Do Business with L.A.:
- As Mayor, Bass will streamline the process – and expand eligibility – for small and minority-owned businesses to receive certification with the city, and she will partner with community organizations to assist small businesses through the process. We need to make it simpler for minority, disadvantaged, LGBT, women and veteran-owned businesses to do business with the City of L.A.
- Bass knows that certification doesn’t mean much if small businesses never win city bids. Bass will explore innovative techniques – like unbundling city contracts – to ensure that more small businesses have a shot at winning the bid.
Order a Full Scale Review of Regulations Within 180 Days, Cut Burdensome Regulations and Create a Tax Holiday for New Businesses:
- No one should need to hire a lobbyist to get basic city services. Permitting, licensing, zoning, and other regulatory structures provide important benefits, but they also create barriers for businesses of all sizes. The city’s bureaucratic processes are slow and opaque – and they cost business owners precious time and money that could be spent employing Angelenos and growing our tax base.
- As Mayor, Bass will meet with every General Manager and direct them to do a thorough review within 180 days of all the taxes, fees, fines, licenses, and regulations that may impede the creation, investment, and growth of businesses in L.A. While we will always maintain regulations that protect workers and consumers, we need to get rid of outdated or unnecessary rules and regulations that stifle entrepreneurship.
- As Mayor, Bass will attract business and create jobs by reinstituting a tax holiday for new businesses in L.A. The city allowed this exemption to expire – even though it is a powerful tool to help businesses launch or relocate to L.A. Bass will restore this policy, giving entrepreneurs the time they need to get on their feet, without giving up revenue to the city.
- She will also harness technology and make permanent some of the good things that came out of the COVID-19 pandemic – like allowing business owners to file documents electronically, and the L.A. Al Fresco program that cut through red tape to allow restaurants to offer outdoor dining.
Expand Film Production and Support L.A.’s Entertainment Industry:
- As Speaker of the State Assembly, Bass led the effort to increase film production through changes in state policy, and she’ll do the same as Mayor. California’s Film and Television Tax Credit has helped to stem the tide of runaway production to other states, keeping economic activity and good-paying below-the-line crew jobs in L.A. where they belong. Bass will continue to champion that program in Sacramento – but there’s more we can do at the local level.
- In order to keep production in L.A. and continue to be the dominant producer of content anywhere in the world, Bass will turn to the new Real Estate Division to expedite the development of more soundstage spaces and post-production facilities.
- Bass has worked to diversify the industry, creating a program that trains Angelenos for various career pathways in entertainment production. She will continue to ensure young people in neighborhoods across the city are exposed to opportunities within the industry and equipped with the skills for successful careers.
- Bass will partner with FilmLA to make city properties across L.A. available for filming, and work with neighborhoods to encourage production – while respecting residents’ quality of life. On-location filming provides an economic boon for local neighborhoods, and highlights our city for viewers across the world.
Create a Tech Talent Alliance to Grow Tech Talent in L.A.:
- L.A. is home to some of the finest four-year colleges and universities in the world, which collectively graduated more than 60,000 students with tech-related degrees between 2015 and 2020. But almost half of those students took jobs outside of L.A. As Mayor, Bass will create a Tech Talent Alliance including tech, K-12, university, and community leaders to identify solutions that keep our brightest young people growing their talents right here at home.
- The Tech Talent Alliance will also partner with schools to expand internships in STEM fields to students in the most underserved areas, and encourage coding and computer science education.
- The L.A. Cleantech Incubator, Silicon Beach, and clusters of tech companies in Downtown and Hollywood have fostered an innovation ecosystem, created jobs, and attracted new investment to the city. As Mayor, Bass will support the expansion of these clusters as well as efforts to expand them in underserved areas, so that more Angelenos have access to lucrative career opportunities.
Restore Tourism and Expand Cultural Tourism:
- Before the pandemic, the leisure and hospitality sector was one of L.A.’s leading economic drivers, supporting more than 545,000 jobs, driving nearly $38 billion in local business sales, and contributing $319 million to the city’s General Fund. Current projections show that it will take several more years for this vital industry to fully recover from the pandemic. It is critical that we double down on our efforts to attract visitors back to L.A.
- Bass will promote cultural tourism to ensure that visitors around the world can enjoy L.A.’s ethnic communities. In Congress, Bass secured funding for the development of cultural tourism and economic development along Crenshaw Boulevard, and will continue to expand development as Mayor. From Chicano murals in East L.A. to Black public art in Leimert Park – from the bakeries of Chinatown to the delis of Pico-Robertson – and all points in between, the richness of L.A.’s diversity is one of our greatest exports.
- Bass will be the city’s top ambassador and will fund additional tourism promotional campaigns to accelerate the pace of L.A.’s economic recovery by generating demand for leisure travel and professional meetings and events.
Ensure All Communities Thrive in the Clean Economy:
- The clean economy is a powerful engine for economic growth and innovation, projected to generate thousands of new jobs for Angelenos each year. While our transition away from fossil fuels will create new and dynamic opportunities, we must ensure this growth is sustainable and inclusive as industries change.
- Bass knows that spending on clean investments and sustainable infrastructure creates nearly three times more jobs per dollar than other infrastructure investments, with green job growth expected to outpace total job growth throughout Los Angeles County by 2050 – but women and people of color are underrepresented in these jobs, and wage disparities have led to persistent workforce inequities.
- Bass understands that more equitable growth leads to stronger communities and a more prosperous local economy. As Mayor, she will drive climate investments – including through Measures M, R, and W, as well as ongoing state and federal infrastructure programs – to ensure equitable access to employment, and close race and gender gaps. She will partner with communities, workers, and industries to reimagine local, clean economies as inclusive drivers of job creation, entrepreneurship, and innovation.
Lead a Comprehensive Approach to Developing Family-Supporting, Career-Path Green Jobs:
- Too often, training programs for green jobs are designed for short-term gigs, and are tailored to specific technologies rather than careers. The fact is that most green job skills require a background in other fields like construction, manufacturing, or transportation – knowledge of new technologies is only one component. As Mayor, Bass will promote a comprehensive, regional approach to workforce development anchored by deep partnerships with community-based organizations, workers, educational institutions, and every sector of the clean economy.
Bring Manufacturing Back to L.A. and Expand International Trade:
- As Mayor, Bass will lead the Reshoring L.A. initiative to bring more offshore production back to Los Angeles. With labor costs increasing in Asian markets and global supply chain challenges, L.A. is uniquely positioned to capture more offshore production. Before shipping delays and congestion issues, manufacturers could stick to a “just in time” model because they could rely on when products would arrive – but as the supply chain crisis has demonstrated, it is imperative that companies begin manufacturing right here at home.
- Bass will leverage L.A.’s advantages – the largest concentration of manufacturers in the nation, skilled talent, an enormous consumer market, and the busiest container port in the nation to entice foreign suppliers to choose L.A. as a home base. She’ll focus her efforts on sectors attracting huge demand like medical supplies, PPE and electric vehicles.
- As Mayor, Bass will also lead virtual trade missions to key markets around the world – promoting L.A., attracting foreign direct investment, and aggressively courting international export opportunities for local businesses, small and large. A Bass Administration will help companies grow and increase our city’s job base by providing access to networking, trade financing, and export partnerships.
INVEST IN PEOPLE
Let’s be honest: high wage industries are based on talent. As Mayor, Bass will strengthen our workforce development system and leverage L.A.’s homegrown talent to create diverse pipelines to high wage jobs. She will enhance support for programs designed to target the unemployed, underemployed, and those who face additional barriers to employment.
Evaluate and Strengthen Workforce Development:
- Our workforce development system is unconnected and incoherent. And amazingly, it’s not really designed around what industries and employers need. The stakes are too high to maintain the status quo. Bass will bring together industry, K-12, higher education and community leaders to address the critical need for highly trained employees in the new economy.
- Bass will start with a simple, fundamental question: What do business leaders actually need from their employees? And then she’ll build a workforce and economic plan of action that meets the critical needs of today’s workforce, especially for those with high barriers to obtaining a high-wage job. She will build upon and strengthen the disparate pieces of the system to strengthen the skills and work readiness of the whole workforce.
- She will transform our workforce development system so that we’re training Angelenos for the jobs of the future, and she’ll work to ensure that L.A. employers hire locally.
- Our workforce programs should not be satisfied by measuring how many people they have trained. Bass will measure our success by how many people we’ve actually placed into quality jobs.
Create Industry-Led Career Pipelines:
- L.A.’s greatest asset is its human capital but too often, industry leaders are forced to import talent from outside Los Angeles. With so much untapped talent here at home, Bass will partner with industries to create career pipelines, funneling talented Angelenos to high wage jobs in emerging and mature industries.
- Nearly 25 percent of adults over the age of 25 in L.A. do not have a high school diploma and nearly 20 percent only have a high school diploma. That means 45 percent of Angelenos are currently excluded from the jobs of the future that require post-high school certification or training.
- Bass will build partnerships with the L.A. Unified School District, L.A.’s community colleges, and four-year universities to help young people access the kind of social capital and professional network that facilitate professional growth.
- Bass will mobilize L.A.’s higher education institutions to recruit, train and deploy tutors to help middle and high school students that have fallen behind because of distance learning.
- Bass will secure commitments from private sector leaders to hire L.A.-grown talent, linking our young people and college graduates to local jobs. She will focus particular attention on connecting L.A.’s fastest-growing and legacy industries to youth, especially from neighborhoods with high unemployment.
Strengthen Workforce Programs at the Port, Airport and DWP:
- The city owns three of L.A.’s greatest economic engines: the Port of Los Angeles, Los Angeles World Airports, and the Department of Water and Power, but we don’t leverage them in the way we could to create new, high-paying jobs.
- The DWP is working to achieve 100% renewable energy, LAX is undergoing one of the largest capital improvement programs in city history, and the Port is pursuing similarly ambitious goals to improve the environment and the global supply chain. These plans will require a new type of workforce, both internally and externally.
- As Mayor, Bass will work with our labor partners to expand the workforce development and apprenticeship programs already underway, with a focus on neighborhoods with the highest unemployment – through both a target local-hire program that creates jobs for Angelenos in the department and career pathways that train Angelenos in related fields.
INVEST IN COMMUNITIES
Ultimately, the things that employers look for are the same things all Angelenos want and deserve: safe and clean neighborhoods, a quality education system, affordable housing and world-class infrastructure. In Congress, Bass helped pass the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which coupled with new state funding, positions L.A. at a historic moment to make significant investments in our communities, and grow our economy.
Promote the Expansion of Fast, Affordable and Reliable Internet to All L.A. Communities:
- In the post-COVID world, high-speed internet is the gateway to economic opportunity. Access to the internet isn’t just critical for work – it’s increasingly how healthcare is delivered and how people access their government. During COVID, we have also seen an explosion of home-based businesses that rely on speedy internet connections. Tapping into the more than $100 billion in federal and state resources allocated to expanding internet access, Bass will lead the city’s efforts to improve broadband connectivity to residents and businesses. All Angelenos, regardless of the zip code they live in, should have access to fast, affordable and reliable internet.
Invest in Physical Infrastructure and Create Local Jobs:
- Bass will put communities first and invest in the basic city services residents and businesses expect like paving our streets and sidewalks, waste collection, and ensuring well-lit streets and parks. She also knows that the quality of infrastructure and delivery of city services varies based on where one lives. As Mayor, Bass will ensure the health, safety and economic growth of all communities.
- Bass helped pass the historic bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which targets billions of dollars to rebuild our freeways and bridges, improve our airports, and expand public transportation and electric vehicle charging stations. Significantly, the bill also includes Bass’ local-hire legislation, which will prioritize local residents to be hired on Metro and highway construction projects.
- Bass will leverage her federal experience to make sure L.A. receives its fair share of these dollars and create good-paying jobs along the way.
Support Working Parents through Expanded Access to Child Care and After School Programs:
- Bass believes that access to quality child care is not only a critical component of children’s early development, but it’s also a critical economic development tool to support working families and grow our economy. As Mayor, she will coordinate existing state and federal funding, and advocate for additional investments, to expand access to child care and support child care providers.
- Bass will direct her office to assist new child care facilities to get the permits they need as quickly as possible so that we can begin to rebuild our child care infrastructure. She will partner with public and private employers to offer child care to more employees, particularly at non-traditional hours to meet families’ diverse needs.
- Bass will also increase investments in after school programs and summer youth jobs and internship programs because she knows that they boost academic achievement, promote safe neighborhoods, and help parents navigate family and work.