City Rising into a New Decade

January 1 marked our passage into 2010, and a new decade.  As economists and pundits continue to debate when we will begin to see signs of true economic recovery, two things are clear.  First, 2010 will be another year of great challenge and opportunity.  More importantly, the coming decade will define the future prosperity of our nation, region and city.

The Chamber hit the ground running in 2010 by loudly voicing our priorities at City Hall.  Our message is simple – the year ahead must be about jobs, jobs, jobs!  We will actively support attempts to create jobs, grow business and rightsize government.  And we will vigorously oppose legislation that kills job growth, delays important capital projects and fails to rein-in runaway spending.

We are pleased that our political leaders have all declared job growth the top priority.  President Obama unveiled a $2.3 billion tax credit to boost jobs by promoting clean energy.  Governor Schwarzenegger unveiled the new California Jobs Initiative, providing $500 million in employer hiring incentives.  Just last week, Mayor Newsom announced his Jobs Plan, suspending payroll taxes on new hires and extending the biotech tax credit.

These are encouraging signs, but not everyone in City Hall is on the same page. Last year San Francisco’s business community had to fight-off nine different tax increase measures that were headed for a special June ballot.  2010 will bring even greater threats with two elections at a time when the city faces a half-a-billion dollar budget deficit and the state continues to linger on the brink of fiscal insolvency.

Already, Charter amendments have been proposed for the June ballot that will affect the strength and sustainability of San Francisco’s economic recovery.  The first significant threat is an old proposal from Supervisor Chris Daly that has been reintroduced by Supervisor John Avalos.  This measure would allow “must spend” appropriations and reduce the administrative authority of the Mayor to control spending, leading us to a Sacramento-style of fiscal mismanagement.  And this is just the beginning.

So where do we go from here? One thing is certain: the actions of business, government and voters in the year ahead will define our economic future.  Now is the time to reset our priorities and build a 21st century economy for San Francisco.

The Chamber believes that we can rise to this occasion.  We can create an economy that boasts a vibrant business climate, jobs of the future and city services meeting our needs.

In 2010, the Chamber will work tirelessly to help our member companies grow, prosper and create jobs through a new initiative called CityRising.  We will also work to advance our agenda to put jobs first, rightsize government and create a long-term plan for a prosperous economic future.

Economic recovery and a 21st century economy are within our grasp.  The Chamber invites you to join us on our journey as a CityRising into a new decade.