Mashburn Proposes Elimination of Business Tax

Keith Mashburn appeared at City Hall tonight during the public statements to propose changes to make Simi Valley more business friendly. The foundation of his proposal was to eliminate the city’s business tax. He acknowledged that this would reduce income for the city, but asserted that the draw to the city as business friendly would drive the economy and account for the loss.

He also indicated that part of the problem that businesses experience are due to the lack of training by portions of city staff. I’m assuming that one of the areas he is referring to is the permitting process. I really have no insight into the training process, hopefully city employees wouldn’t mind contacting me to weigh in on that theory. I have heard stories from other business owners that starting a business that involves conditional use permits and building permits can be a lengthy and frustrating endeavor.

Since the proposal was made during public statements, the Council does not discuss the topic or provide any feedback, so not much more to say at this point.


August 30 Council Meeting

The upcoming City Council Meeting scheduled for August 30th, Monday, at Simi Valley City Hall will be a long, action packed meeting. Among the topics will be a discussion regarding Council Member Steve Sojka’s proposed Cochran Street modifications in response to the Farmers Insurance departure announced a couple of weeks ago. You can read Steve Sojka’s press release on the topic by clicking here.

Also, it’s been rumored that the new Business Advocate will be officially introduced, along with a further explanation of the individual’s role. The Business Advocate has been both well supported and widely disputed as an first step to improving the current processes and communication channels between the city and the business community. Supposedly we’ll get to learn who the Business Advocate is, where they came from and more about what they’ll be doing.

Lastly, E-Verify will be on the agenda. Bob Huber’s team submitted the following press release, urging his supporters to be there to weigh in on the topic:

Huber Urges Simi Valley Residents to Speak Out on E-Verify, at August 30 City Council Meeting

Back on July 17, 2010, Simi Valley Mayoral candidate Bob Huber publicly called for the City of Simi Valley to implement E-verify, the free state-of-the-art, worker verification program, to protect local jobs, administered by the federal government.  On July 30th Mayor Miller publicly refuted the E-Verify program in saying, “Staff has learned that E-Verify is not fail-safe and, in fact, has been highly unreliable.”   He went on to say, “The error rate is no better than a flip of the coin.”  Further, Miller said, “I would be extremely reluctant to direct taxpayer resources or impose a regulation on employers to use such a system.”

Since that time, much debate has ensued with valuable input from the residents of our fine City.  The City has received mountains of emails and phone calls voicing support for this program, in addition to similar letters to the editor and opinions on local blogs. This issue has clearly touched a nerve in Simi Valley and the People are engaged and are sharing their concerns.

On August 6, 2010, Huber said, “The facts do not support City Hall’s assertion on E-Verify!”  and quoted from the official website of The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,  “Westat estimates that overall E-Verify queries result in an accurate response 96% of the time and an inaccurate response 4.1 % of the time ……..since when is 96% a flip of the coin?”  Huber further said, “This whole dispute is about jobs for our residents and I firmly believe that 96% accuracy is sufficient protection to secure jobs for our deserving people of Simi Valley.”

City Manager, Mike Sedell, has announced that at last, E- Verify is being re-considered by the City Council on August 30 as a part of a new worker verification program. Sedell went on to say the City Council will vote on the proposal on August 30.

Huber responded, “This is a step in the right direction and good news for the hard working people of Simi Valley.   We will continue to closely monitor this issue until it is fully adopted.  Presidents from George Bush, 41st to our current President  Barack Obama  have supported E-Verify.  With over 700,000 private businesses using E-Verify and dozens of California cities using the program as well, it’s obviously a program that the people want.  This is a program that is part of the solution, to help insure citizens and legal residents get the available jobs.  I urge all Simi Valley residents to attend the August 30 City Council Meeting and let your voices be heard.

Business Challenges in Simi Valley

It’s been referred to in letters to the editor, comments on this blog and Brian Dennert’s, as well as comments on the Ventura County Star. Depending on the nature of your business, moving shop to Simi Valley can be a difficult and expensive task. It is one of the issues that should be addressed by all candidates for City Council and Mayor.

When I consider my own business endeavors in Simi Valley, setting up shop was a relatively simple and inexpensive task. I leased space in a small office, registered for my business name and opened my accounts, paid my Simi Valley business tax, and that was that. But if your business requires construction, zoning changes, or anything else that may modify existing infrastructure, you’ve got quite a task ahead of you, not to mention tens of thousands of assumed costs.

For the next several months, I’ll be following a specific case of a business owner setting up shop in Simi Valley. His business exists currently in another city, but he wants to bring it in Simi Valley where he lives. He has faced several obstacles and has had to dig deep to pay for thousands of dollars worth of unexpected costs. His desire to press on and bring his business home is motivating him to continue, but his frustrations are building and his concern that his dream won’t pan out are starting to feel more real.

As these milestones are reached, I’ll share his progress and hope that our candidates are prepared to address these issues and propose their solutions.