LA Voters on Track to Give LA Businesses Bid Preference for City Contracts

Early results in the primary election Tuesday evening show that Los Angeles voters are on track to overwhelmingly approve a ballot measure that would allow the city to give preference for some of its contracts to businesses located in the city.

Charter Amendment BB, which needs a majority of voters’ approval to pass, received 67.01% of the vote according to initial results released by the Los Angeles County Registrar/County Clerk Tuesday night. The ballot measure was introduced in a motion by Councilmen Paul Koretz, Bob Blumenfield and Marqueece Harris-Dawson.

The measure would add “city of Los Angeles” to the City Charter’s definition of local, allowing the city to give contracting bid preferences to businesses located with the city of Los Angeles. The charter currently requires the city to award contracts to responsible bidders with the lowest prices, while “local” businesses in Los Angeles County and California are allowed to be prioritized.

Koretz said in February that data from his office and the Bureau of Contract Administration shows that only 7% of local business enterprise awards were received by businesses located in the city, and only one-quarter of 1% of the contracting dollars went to businesses in the city.

“Labor costs, rent, utilities, insurance, sales taxes, businesses taxes are often higher (in the city) than those outside the city limits and can place businesses located within the city of L.A. at a competitive disadvantage,” Koretz said before the Feb. 1 City Council vote to move the ballot measure forward.

He added that giving preference to city businesses could spur economic growth for Los Angeles and generate more tax revenue for the city.

“We ask a lot of our businesses in the city of L.A. We hold them to higher standards than the cities that surround us,” Councilwoman Nithya Raman said in support of the motion. “We should also make it as easy for them to get our city dollars as possible.”

Opponents say the charter amendment does not include specific provisions needed to support businesses in the city.

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