Members of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday urged city leaders to take up a set of business-friendly initiatives.
"It's time to put the recession behind us. We need a 'back to basics' agenda," Mayor Eric Garcetti told a room full of business leaders who filled the City Hall rotunda for ACCESS LA City Hall.
"I always look forward to ACCESS LA City Hall because you help us set the agenda," the mayor said. "We are on the move. Our best days are ahead of us."
The mayor delivered those words to a chamber that did not endorse him in the May election.
Representatives of the business advocacy group pressed city officials to move forward with a plan to phase out its gross receipts tax, as well as to back modernization projects at Los Angeles International Airport, high-density developments and increased resources at the Port of Los Angeles.
The chamber also presented highlights of its 2013 Economic Report, an annual gauge of Los Angeles' economic climate that included a breakdown of how each council district did in terms of jobs, wages and tax revenue.
According to the report, employment in Los Angeles rose 3.8 percent from 2011 to 2012, even as average wages fell by 2.3 percent.
Sales tax receipts rose 4.9 percent, reflecting a second year of increased in consumer spending, the report said.
"We are going to need to target those industries we've neglected. Manufacturing, aerospace or fashion," the mayor said.
"ACCESS LA City Hall is about ensuring business growth and job creation is the No. 1 priority for City Hall," Los Angeles Area Chamber President Gary Toebben said. "The Chamber is committed to representing the voices of the business community in Los Angeles and building meaningful partnerships with City Hall to help the economic development of this region."
While business leaders came to the mayor to talk about jobs, the government shutdown and its potential impact on the LA economy loomed over the conversation.
"Uncertainty like a shutdown in government, uncertainty like not being sure if the debt ceiling is going to be raised, and what the outcomes for those are, that makes business not expand and not grow," said chamber Vice President Ruben Gonzalez.
"When you look at people who are government employees here of the federal government, that means less money for them to spend in our local economy," the mayor said.