Statement on LA County’s Economic Resiliency Task Force

“The events of this past weekend, and underlying tensions, have made the work of the Economic Resiliency Task Force all that more critical and albeit challenging.

“We must do all that we can to move forward safely but with a sense of urgency and equity to allow businesses to reopen and for employees to return to work.This means also focusing recovery strategies that address the inequities that have been long endured by disadvantaged communities and communities of color. For instance, I am pleased to see that hair salons and barbershops were recently allowed to reopen. It makes a huge difference economically and culturally. Small. Business. Matters.

“Providing a path forward to meaningful employment, family sustaining employment, is necessary if we are to be successful in the work that must be done to restore trust and faith in government at all levels. This work, this Task Force is both timely and critical given our unemployment rate of more than 20%, four percentage points higher than the rate for the State, with projections that our unemployment rate could exceed 30%.

“While there have been jobs losses across the board, the most significant impact has been on low-wage jobs in the retail, food service, entertainment and hospitality sectors. Much of what we witnessed this past weekend was a reflection of the disparity that exists in communities of color.

“However, here, is where we have a duty, and opportunity, to take advantage of growth sectors and new markets created by a post-COVID reality. Manufacturing will be looked at with renewed interest as we consider onshoring many operations that moved overseas in search of cheaper labor. Bioscience is expected to see significant new investment. We must expand training opportunities to make sure Angelenos are equipped to take advantage of the opportunities this sector has to offer.

“There is a bright future ahead for Los Angeles, and that future that begins here with all of us working together for greater prosperity that is shared by all the residents of LA County. That future begins here with all of us working together for greater prosperity by ALL.”

Statement on Metro Budget and Cost Control Efforts

Metro construction at the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station. Photo courtesy of Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

“Due to a Board with an expansive vision and an agency motivated to deliver, we have found ourselves in a position to advance projects years before the commitment made to voters when they passed Measure M. The work to do so over the past few years has been audacious, driven by a reality that the infrastructure and transportation needs are significant in all corners of this region. I have long advanced a regional, rational, and equitable transportation policy at Metro.

“But this moment rightly forces us to reevaluate. First and foremost, our commitment must continue to be on delivering Measure M projects where and when they were promised. Then, this crisis should motivate us all – including our industry partners – to do some belt tightening.

“Investing in infrastructure has historically been the ticket to restarting the economy, and we should exhaust efforts to drive that scenario now. These efforts should be guided by unprecedented innovation and resourcefulness. This is a new reality, and we must be guided accordingly.”

LA County Announces New Countywide Economic Recovery Task Force

Amid the pandemic, Los Angeles County is making an unprecedented effort to assist small businesses and individuals experiencing financial hardships. In direct response to the COVID-19 economic challenges, the Board of Supervisors approved a motion co-authored by Supervisors Barger and Solis to establish the Economic Recovery Task Force that would design, coordinate and execute a Comprehensive Economic Recovery Plan.

“We know long after this virus is gone, the economic damage will remain. We need to understand the full financial impact that this disease has had on our economy in order to form a suitable response,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “We will research, refocus and rebuild to come out of this stronger.”

The objective of this plan is to set forth viable strategies that prepare the region for renewed growth and prosperity throughout the County. The Task Force will be required to report back with applicable ideas and proposals, within a span of 90 days. The Task Force will be a working group of economic development practitioners and experts from business, government, labor, academia, and all five members of the Board. Recently, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas sent a letter to the Chief Executive Office detailing his primary objectives and focus around The Task Force.

“We need to acquire the experience and expertise needed for charting a path forward – ensuring that future prosperity is accessible and shared by all communities,” commented Ridley-Thomas.

The County has already begun to provide technical assistance to help small businesses access state and federal funds that are being made available to abate the impact of the crisis. Several efforts at the County and State level have been implemented to assist businesses and workers at this time. These efforts include: the Employer Assistance Grant Fund program, the L.A. County Worker and Business Disaster Help Center and the Small Business Relief Fund – all established by The Board of Supervisors in conjunction with the Department of Workforce Development, Aging, and Community Services (WDACS) and the Departments of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA).

For more information about how to access available funds and updates on the items listed above, please visit: lacountyhelpcenter.org or call 833-238-4450.

Statement by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on Los Angeles County’s 2020-2021 Proposed Budget

“After more than a decade of economic growth, we have diligently built up the County’s reserves to prepare for the next economic downturn, but the sudden and nearly complete shutdown of economic activity across all industries due to the coronavirus pandemic has confronted the County with an unprecedented challenge.

The Recommended Budget was prepared with the prospect of a 2020 recession in mind. It used conservative growth projections and made financial commitments that were well within what the County could afford.

“The County is now facing a budget shortfall that is currently projected to amount to a two-billion-dollar loss in revenues over the current and upcoming fiscal year. Revenues that we budgeted for will not be coming in, and at the same time, we are incurring extensive costs to keep people safe from this pandemic.

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be profound.

“The Recommended Budget will be revised, and we are meeting this challenge by setting a plan in motion to immediately reduce expenditures, while maintaining high-quality services that benefit the well-being of Los Angeles County’s 10 million residents, including the most vulnerable and underserved.

“We are committed to get through this together.”

LA County Announces Public-Private Partnership to Bring $28 Million to LA County Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas hosted a Facebook LIVE on Thursday, April 16 for interested businesses and non-profits.

This week, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas to create the Los Angeles County COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Program which calls for the creation of the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a public-private partnership that will provide critical funding for hundreds of small businesses and nonprofits in L.A. County being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The motion aims to counteract COVID-19 related financial hardships small businesses and nonprofits are currently facing across all industries.

“Our small businesses and nonprofits are economically and culturally interwoven in the fabric that makes up Los Angeles County,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “I am proud of Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo Foundation, Citi, and our other private sector partners for joining with the County of Los Angeles to bring needed resources to our businesses, who are suffering great losses as we cope with this unprecedented pandemic.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought significant hardship to our businesses, and to the nonprofits that support the County’s service delivery infrastructure,” said Joseph M. Nicchitta, Director of the County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. ““The County has long demonstrated its commitment to the wellbeing of our County’s small business and nonprofit community, and I’m honored to work with the Board of Supervisors and alongside my colleagues across the County to deliver badly needed support to the businesses and nonprofits in the region.”

The County will seed the Relief Fund with an initial $12 million dollars investment. Private sector partners have also joined in to leverage this initial investment. Initial private sector commitments include $15 million in capital by Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative, $1 million from Wells Fargo Foundation, $100,000 from Citi, and $25,000 from Union Bank Foundation.

The County’s partnership with Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., will open a new channel for up to $15 million of additional Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans targeting microenterprises and nonprofits through Goldman Sachs’ national community development financial institution partner, Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF). CRF plans to work through local partners to reach target businesses and nonprofits who might otherwise not have access to the PPP program via a traditional banking relationship.

“Ensuring all businesses have access to these resources is of paramount importance,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, emphasizing the importance of equity and inclusivity as resources are made available to local businesses. “We know from history and intuitively that the best-resourced businesses are often first in line for available relief.”

“A crisis of this scale demands innovative thinking and fast action,” said Margaret Anadu, Head of the Urban Investment Group of Goldman Sachs. “We are heartened by the County’s definitive response and proud to play a role in helping support small businesses, which are so critical to the well-being of communities across Los Angeles County.”

“This is an inspiring example of how public-private partnerships can deliver much-needed capital rapidly and at scale,” said Keith Rachey, chief impact officer for CRF. “With the dedication of community partners on the ground, and the generous support of private sector partners, CRF is proud to help make a difference for small businesses and nonprofits in Los Angeles County.”

“Wells Fargo supports this important effort to provide much needed grants and technical assistance directly to some of LA’s small businesses most in need of help during this critical time. We thank the County of Los Angeles for its leadership and collaboration to help our small business community which is so vital to our local economy,” said Gregg Sherkin, Senior Vice President and Senior Manager of Wells Fargo’s Corporate Philanthropy and Community Relations.

Additional support from Citi will provide $100,000 to the LA Area Chamber of Commerce to provide additional technical assistance and outreach for businesses. MUFG Union Bank Foundation’s $25,000 philanthropic contribution will serve as an operating grant to support local community development financial institution partners’ work to deploy Relief Fund capital.

“During this uncertain time, we need to come together to ensure that vital small business supports are as accessible and inclusive as possible,” said James Alva, Senior VP and Market Manager for Citi. “This cross-sector initiative will enable more micro-business owners to unlock the critical funding championed by the LA County Supervisors.”

The Relief Fund compliments recent County programs to support small businesses, including $500,000 in small business grants available through the Workforce Development, Aging, and Community Services Department, and a $3 million small business loan program through the Los Angeles County Development Authority. The County has also begun to provide technical assistance to help small businesses access state and federal funds that are being made available to abate the impact of the crisis, through Department of Consumer and Business (DCBA) Help Center.

“The Relief Fund represents a commitment by the County of Los Angeles to support our entire region,” added Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “It is an important start, but it is just that: a start. I call on our private sector partners to join us in our continued efforts to raise additional capital for our region’s business owners and entrepreneurs.

The Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) will launch the fund the week of April 27, 2020. For more information about how to access available funds and updates on the Relief Fund, visit the County’s Disaster Help Center at lacountyhelpcenter.org, or call 833-238-4450.