Moving forward: Chamber looks to strengthen regional voice

As the advocate for business in the region, the Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce focuses its efforts on programs and policies creating a level playing field for all companies and employees. A few of the things we do is monitor and champion proposed legislation with elected representatives, create opportunity for interaction with your officials, encourage candidate awareness of key business issues, and build coalitions. While California has many wonderful attributes making people want to live here, it is no secret the state is not among the most business-friendly. As a business association we are committed to making the voice of tremendous revenue for our communities one that is considered.

With the 2018 legislative calendar coming into focus it is important we be steadfast and aggressive in protecting the jobs our businesses create in California. The bid proposal Huntington Beach put together to host Amazon’s new headquarters highlights many reasons we are losing business. While several local municipalities put forth bids on this project, only one community on the West Coast became a finalist: Los Angeles.

Our local cities were handicapped by the state’s worst incentive packages, highest taxes, and increasingly tight housing markets.

Although this process should invite the development of more attractive policies, the legislature proposed increasing business taxes in the face of a lowered federal business tax.
Regulations are meant to improve quality of life and lead to a more ethical and even playing field. The issue is the level of regulation and the way these regulations are implemented. A recent proposal by Assemblyman Ian Calderon would fine a restaurant server up to $1,000 and possibly six months in jail for giving an unrequested straw.

How does this serve the best interest of anyone? The spirit of the proposed law, reducing waste and being aware of our environmental impact, is important. However, perhaps a better solution would be to reward businesses for using alternate products rather than fining the people farthest from the sphere of influence.

In the coming years, the State of California and many municipalities will be faced with the real dilemma of having to handle ballooning pension obligations. Instead of attracting businesses that could generate significant revenue or finding ways to reduce operating costs, California continues to imply we can tax our way out of this impending problem. The threat of split rolls has gained steam in Sacramento as a solution to revenue shortfalls. This may stimulate increased revenue in the short term, but it will force companies to assess whether the benefits of remaining in California outweigh the cost of doing business here.

As we make it through the initial phases of this legislative cycle, we will keep our community apprised of proposals as they gain steam and make it out of committee facing a vote. It is of paramount importance that we are all at the table working with our elected representatives. Our government affairs committee is monitoring and making recommendations on course of action. We encourage you to participate in this either through attending meetings on the fourth Wednesday of each month or engaging digitally on the Facebook livestream.

Throughout the course of the year we will create access to many of the candidates running for office throughout the region. This election cycle is going to have enormous long-term ramifications with Huntington Beach alone having four city council seats, two State Assembly seats, a State Senate seat, a county supervisor seat, and a Congressional seat on the ballot. Our monthly luncheon will be a forum for businesses to hear from and question these candidates. We strongly encourage both business representatives and community members to take advantage of the opportunity to ask these folks how they are going to balance community welfare with encouraging business growth.

To bring your voice to Sacramento, we are building a delegation to travel north in May to meet with our elected representatives. Meetings at the capital will focus on keeping key business and community issues top of mind. We are working with surrounding communities to develop a strong, united voice with a coalition of cities and civic groups focused on the well-being of coastal Orange County. Participation in this effort will help cement the important role our business community plays in building the quality of life we all expect in Southern California.

At the chamber, we are focused on ensuring our community continues to have the resources needed to grow and prosper. We understand the importance of our businesses being good stewards and providing opportunity for our residents while at the same time having the ability to innovate and grow. As a group, we can affect change and challenge our leaders to focus on making California and our region a more competitive environment that attracts the best and brightest. Historically, Californians have led innovation and evolution, and it is paramount to not allow politicians the opportunity to reverse this trend.

About Us

Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based business advocacy and networking organization that represents 675+ businesses, employing more than 160,000 employees in Huntington Beach and Orange County.

Contact Us

Phone (714) 536-8888

Fax (714) 960-7654

15744 Goldenwest Street
Building 22
Huntington Beach CA, 92648