Los Angeles reviewing taxes, fees that hurt small businesses as Bass seeks to reduce barriers

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Saturday, October 7, 2023
Los Angeles reviewing taxes and fees that hurt small businesses
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass met with business owners on Friday as the city works on speeding up the permit process.

BOYLE HEIGHTS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass met with business owners on Friday as the city works on speeding up the permit process.

At Mexicanos 3030 restaurant in Boyle Heights, Bass continued her listening tour with small business owners to hear what's holding them back from thriving financially.

"Even to get a permit, you go to the city and they tell you no," restaurant owner Juan SanJuan said. "The health inspector tells you this is wrong."

Bass told Eyewitness News an issue that stood out to her involved parking and street sweeping times.

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"If the hours of street sweeping are between 8 and 12 o'clock and your streets are swept at 8:30, then why can't you park after that?" Bass said.

For many, the answer is always the same: the city's slow permitting process.

The owners of 1111 LA Experiencia have been paying rent for almost one year, but the business is nowhere near being ready to open.

"I spend all day long finding out where do I submit my plans... We should have been open three to four months ago," SanJuan said. "This has been a year-long process to open a small restaurant that's this big."

Ninety days into an executive order that aims to support the 50,000 businesses owned and operated in the city, the mayor has announced that process delays are being addressed, virtual and in-person counter services have been added for those wanting to open a business, and city taxes and fees are being reviewed.

"L.A. has become too expensive to live," Bass said. "What's the remedy for that? Small businesses are the number one employer, so their success is tied to the ability for Los Angeles to become more affordable. All of these problems are interconnected."

The city has also established a small business task force to bring those who know the challenges better than anyone - small business owners - into the policy change process.