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Endorsement: Give L.A. businesses a leg up. Say yes to Charter Amendment BB

(Frederic J. Brown / AFP via Getty Images)

Should Los Angeles give businesses in the city a competitive edge when bidding for municipal contracts? That’s the idea behind Charter Amendment BB on the June 7 ballot.

The city charter requires that contracts be awarded to responsible bidders with the lowest price. It also allows the city to give a scoring advantage to bidders located in California or Los Angeles County. For years city leaders have talked about narrowing the contracting preference to city-based companies. In 2011, the City Council even voted to instruct city staff to look into changing the charter to allow a city-based preference only, but the proposal went nowhere.

Council members revived the idea last year, and 11 years later voters now have their chance. We recommend a “yes” vote on Charter Amendment BB.

Here are the L.A. Times’ editorial board endorsements for elected offices in Los Angeles city and county, LAUSD, superior court, statewide offices, the state legislature and U.S. House and Senate seats.

About 20% of city’s contract dollars awarded annually go to businesses based in Los Angeles County, and 4% go to local businesses based in the city, according to the Bureau of Contract Administration.

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Steering more contracts to city firms benefits local taxpayers. L.A.-based companies pay a gross receipts business tax, and the city receives sales tax revenue from purchases made within the city limits. When city agencies contract and buy from L.A. companies, some of that tax revenue returns to the city. Plus, local companies employ local workers, which creates jobs and economic investment in communities.

And, let’s face it — it’s expensive to do business in L.A., where rent, taxes, wages and other costs are typically higher than other inland cities and states. Giving local businesses a leg up in competing for city contracts can be an incentive for some companies to stay in L.A.

Charter Amendment BB wouldn’t require city preferences in all contracts. It would allow the city to offer preferences in contracts when appropriate. The final decision in contracting will still be based on a comprehensive evaluation of the bids based on cost, experience and other relevant factors.

This is a change that civic leaders and businesses groups have long advocated for, and it’s one way to help Los Angeles employers. Voters should support Charter Amendment BB.

Read more endorsements at: latimes.com/endorsements.


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