May 09, 2013

LAWT News Service

 

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) hosted an exporter forum for small businesses on Friday, May 3 in Hawthorne, Calif. More than 75 representatives from local companies attended the event, which focused on how American companies can gain a competitive edge when exporting their products overseas. The forum was held in collaboration with Fred P. Hochberg, chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im). Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that helps create and maintain U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers. Local small businesses also received one-on-one trade counseling from Ex-Im Bank experts..

“I was pleased to see so many people from the business community gather to hear presentations on how to improve their exports,” said Congresswoman Waters. “Exports create and sustain U.S. jobs, and businesses in the 43rd Congress­ional District have much to gain from such opportunities. I am confident that the forum provided them the necessary resources to sell their great exports around the world.”

“Exports help create jobs and boost our nation’s economy,” said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg. "Ex-Im Bank will continue to host Global Access forums throughout the country so we can provide our local business leaders with the tools they need to expand globally."

Chairman Hochberg gave an overview of Ex-Im Bank's Global Access for Small-Business initiative, aimed at increasing the number of small businesses across the United States that export goods and services produced by U.S. workers. This is an integral part of the President Obama’s National Export Initiative.

Global Access is supported by a wide variety of business, financial and government partners, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Man­u­facturers (NAM), and the Bank’s 60-plus city/state partners located throughout the U.S.

Parent Category: News
Category: Business

May 09, 2013

LAWT News Service

 

California State Board of Equalization (BOE) Chairman Jerome E. Horton is honored to announce he is the recipient of the esteemed “2013 Award for Excellence by a Government Official.” The Los Angeles County Bar Association will present the award to Mr. Horton during the 2013 Tax Practitioners’ Conference Luncheon on Tuesday, May 7, 2013, at the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles.

Chairman Horton is being honored for his long and distinguished public service, most notably in providing a fair and just tax system for the people of California.  He began his long tenure at the BOE at age 18, worked 21 years as a business tax law specialist, served on  the Inglewood City Council, served six years in the California State Assembly, currently, some 35 years later, oversees the Board’s collection and allocation of more than $53 billion in state tax and fee revenues each year.

Chairman Horton was key in the Board’s establishment of the “Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights,” as well as many other programs that help lessen the tax burden on Californians and provide legal assistance to business owners. Thus, he is known by many as Jerome Horton, “The Equalizer.”

Elected in 2010, Chairman Jerome E. Horton is the Fourth District Member of the California State Board of Equalization, representing more than 8.5 million residents in Los Angeles County. He is also the Board of Equalization’s Legislative Committee Chairman. He is the first to serve on the Board of Equalization with over 21 years of experience at the BOE. Horton previously served as an Assembly Member of the California State Assembly from 2000-2006.

The five-member California State Board of Equalization is a publicly elected tax board. The Board of Equalization collects more than $53.7 billion annually in taxes and fees supporting state and local government services. It hears business tax appeals, acts as the appellate body for franchise and personal income tax appeals, and serves a significant role in the assessment and administration of property taxes. For more information on other taxes and fees in California, visit www.taxes.ca.gov.

Parent Category: News
Category: Business

April 25, 2013

(AP) — Los Angeles has the worst traffic in the nation and it’s gotten worse as the economy improves, according to a report released Wednesday.

Because of congestion, the average motorist in the Los Angeles metropolitan area spent an extra 59 hours in traffic during 2012, according to a national scorecard from traffic information firm INRIX.

That was nine hours more than drivers in Honolulu.

San Francisco was in third place for congestion, followed by Austin, Texas; New York and Bridgeport, Conn.

San Jose, Calif., was in seventh place, followed by Seattle, Washing­ton, D.C., and Boston.

The report looked at major metropolitan areas and measured how much longer it took drivers to get somewhere because of congestion in 2012. It found that most areas also are seeing more traffic jams this year.

Nationally, congestion from January through March of this year was up 4 percent compared to the same period in 2012, while Los Angeles saw a 6 percent spurt, said Jim Bak, the study’s author.

Among the other top 10 communities for traffic jams, seven saw more congestion for the three-month period. Boston topped the list with a 30 percent increase.

Seattle’s rate dropped by 11 percent and Washington was down 5 percent, INRIX said.

The recovering economy played a large role in increasing traffic woes, Bak said.

The Los Angeles area added about 90,000 new jobs during that period, Bak said.

“We’re really seeing a strong correlation between return of employment and return of traffic,” Bak said.

“More people going back to work means ... more people are willing to go out and spend money,” he said. “They’re going shopping, they’re going to a movie.”

It also means merchants are shipping and receiving more products, further adding to the congestion.

“You want to not like bad traffic but on the other hand it shows the economy is coming along pretty well,” Bak said. “It’s kind of a good news, bad news for drivers.”

The worst times to be on Los Angeles roads were Tuesday morning and Friday afternoon, the study said.

 

Parent Category: News
Category: Business

April 25, 2013

By George E. Curry

NNPA Editor-in-Chief

 

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – Marie Johns, the retired president of Washington Verizon, was busy managing a consulting firm when she received an unexpected call three years ago from the White House.

“I got a call one day from White House personnel to come in and talk about a position with the administration,” she recounted. “Of course, given the historic nature of President Obama’s ascendancy to the presidency, I was honored to answer that call.”

That call was to become Deputy Administrator of the Small Business Administration, a federal agency that provides small businesses with access to capital, federal contracting as well as training and counseling. The Senate unanimously confirmed her for the post on June 22, 2010.

At the end of May, Johns plans to return to her consulting firm, proud of the record she is leaving behind.

“Coming to the SBA was a natural for me,” she said during a recent interview at her office in Southwest Washington, D.C. “I had been focusing on small business for many years.”

She had been around small businesses all of her life.

“During the 1950’s my grandfather started a small landscaping company in our hometown of Indian­apolis,” she said in a Feb.7 note to the SBA staff notifying employees of her intention to return to the private sector. “It went on to become one of the first African American-owned businesses to win a state contract in Indianapolis. I saw firsthand how that business not only improved the lives of our family, but also created opportunities for his employees and our community. My grandfather’s entrepreneurial spirit has inspired my work every day at the SBA.”

Johns is proud of her accomplishments at the SBA.

“All across the SBA, we have worked hard to address the needs of underserved communities,” she said in her note to the staff. “We have worked together to improve processes and programs with the goal of making the SBA one of the best places to work in the federal government. We have joined together after countless disasters to assist families and business owners as they rebuild their lives and livelihoods. We have provided businesses the capital, counseling, and contracting they need to fuel economic growth and create jobs.  And, together, we have helped restore confidence in the American Dream.”

If the American Dream is going to be realized, it will be partly as a result of growing in global markets.

“About 87 percent of the exporters in the country are small businesses,” she said. “But the majority of them export to one country.” She explained, “Ninety-plus percent of the consumer power in the world is outside of the United States. So, exports have to be part of the growth strategy for small businesses down the road.”

Michael A. Grant, president of the National Bankers Association, credited Johns with restoring trust between the NBA, most of whose members are Black, and the federal agency.

“She actively and aggressively worked to include minority banks in all new programs,” he said. “Instead of merely urging small banks to develop stronger ties to big banks, she made sure that happened. She brought five or six mega-banks to our meeting. She not only set up the meeting, she chaired the meeting herself. She is incredible.”

Harry C. Alford, president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, is perhaps Johns’ fiercest critic. He uses another word – “terrible” – to describe her tenure at the SBA.

“She has actually refused to meet with any of our 150 chapters,” he said via email. “Ignoring the largest Black business association in the world is a blueprint for failure. The numbers show it – 1% Black contracting and 1% SBA guaranteed loans to Black business.”

Alford cites the SBA as the source of his figures. However, Johns says the SBA does not separate figures by race, though it hopes to eventually be able to provide a more detailed breakout. She says that over the past four years, SBA has supported more than $106 billion in lending to more than 193,000 small businesses and entrepreneurs, including two record years of providing more than $30 billion in loan guarantees.

In addition, she said, her agency has helped small businesses access more than $286.3 billion in federal contracts – $32 billion more than the preceding three years. That is more noteworthy because the increased spending with small businesses occurred as overall federal contract spending was decreasing.

She said Black businesses have profited from that activity.

Ron Busby, president of the U.S. Black Chamber, Inc., has worked closely with Johns. He drafted a letter on behalf of his organization, the National Bankers Association, the NAACP, the National Urban League, the National 8(a) Association and other groups urging President Obama to select her to head the SBA following the resignation of Administrator Karen Mills.

“Deputy Administrator Johns is one of the strongest advocates in the federal government for small businesses overall, as well as for small businesses owned by racial and ethnic minorities,” the letter said. It went on to praise her for increasing access to capital, expanding federal contracting with people of color and helping create partnerships with other ethnic business associations.

Johns says she has also sought to build a greater sensitivity to what she calls underserved groups. By her count, she has met with staff in all 10 regions and visited 48 district offices, 41 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

Johns said she is pleased that capital is again flowing to small businesses, SBA paperwork has been reduced and that she has aggressively engaged business groups, not waiting for them to come to the SBA for support.

When pressed to cite her greatest accomplishment, Johns said, “I would say leaving a legacy of commitment to the underserved agenda for the SBA and really putting in place programs and initiatives that will carry on.”

Parent Category: News
Category: Business

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