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Friday, August 2, 2013

Schipske Responds to City Manager/Mayor Proposed Budget -- Need to Focus on Job Creation in Long Beach

New-Long-Beach-City-Seal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Schipske Responds to Proposed Budget -- Says Time for City to Wage A Real War For Jobs – Calls for Portion of One Time Funds to Be Used to Spur Private Job Creation, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development in Long Beach – 
Also Calls for relief for residents from high fees and fines

August 2, 2014 -- In response to the release of the City Manager/Mayor budget for Fiscal Year 2014, Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske released the following statement:

“As required by state law and City Charter, the proposed budget for FY 2014 is balanced. This year, it reflects a large surplus in revenue caused directly by the return of property tax dollars due to the dissolution of redevelopment and the continued high price of oil.

While $5.5 million of this revenue surplus – also called one time funds -- are being proposed by the Mayor for Public Safety (something for which I have strongly advocated over the past several years), there is no provision to utilize any of the surplus to deal with the high unemployment rate and the lack of private sector job growth in Long Beach.

Long Beach continues to experience the highest unemployment rate in California. As recently as March 2013, the rate was 11.6% as compared with 8.8% percent for California and 7.6% nationally. This should be unacceptable to any elected official in this City and reversing this problem should be our first priority.
The State Legislature just abolished the ‘enterprise zone’ tax credits that Long Beach was able to use to recruit companies to create jobs here, so now more than ever we need a strategy that pulls together entrepreneurs, educators and City leaders to find out how together we increase job creation.

The City must utilize a portion of this $56 million dollar surplus to wage a war on creating and retaining private sector jobs. We need to figure out why our unemployment rate is so high and why other cities, particularly in the Bay Area of the state, are thriving and creating sustainable, good paying jobs. We need to closely examine what part our city government can play in developing a local solution.

As John Clifton writes in his article: “Cities: Where Good Jobs Are Created” -- Have your whole city wage a war for jobs. Everybody in charge of anything needs to focus on job creation. If they divert their attention, vote them out. Be ruthless. If the bike path doesn't have anything to do with job creation, there is no bike path. If rezoning improves the jobs outlook, rezone.

I would propose that $2 million dollars be designated to establish a Small Business Services Initiative that would offer seed money for entrepreneurs so that businesses can start, operate and expand in Long Beach. Most importantly, a SBSI would also bring together local educational institutions, entrepreneurs, labor unions, local government and others to address the problems of job loss, low graduation rates, the continued ‘brain drain’ of college graduates who leave Long Beach, and the lack of training programs for blue collar jobs, to ensure we are all on the same page about the need to create jobs. This initiative could also help locate affordable workspaces to support start up businesses. (Perhaps the City could use some of the 296 properties from redevelopment for workspaces.)

The City also needs to pursue locating a ‘Green Tech Zone’ in Long Beach which can serve as an incubator for innovation and would create jobs in these growing industries. I authored legislation last year directing the City Manager to explore this possibility to duplicate what the City of Los Angeles has done.  I asked that a committee of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce work with the City to explore this option for Long Beach. The aim would be to attract clean industries through incentives, including help obtaining permits and tax and utility rebates. 

Long Beach needs to make its top priorities – real job creation and economic growth.

We also have to lessen the burden on the working families of our city who struggle to keep their jobs and pay their taxes. Recently, the City Council passed legislation so that real estate agents no longer have to pay a separate business license if they work under a broker. The City Council needs to review all of the fees and fines we require residents to pay: From the costs of a home business license to the parking ticket for not moving your car in time for the street sweepers. We need to provide some relief.”

Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske has represented the 5th Council District since 2006. She will hold a District 5 Budget Meeting on August 14th at 6 pm at the Water Treatment Plant, 2950 Redondo (at Spring).

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