Letter: Small businesses play a huge role statewide

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, California is home to more than 3.5 million small businesses, which employ more than 37% of all workers in the state. These hard-working and dedicated individuals are the backbone of our local economy, and they face the brunt of challenges that affect the economic development of our community.

That’s why last January I organized my first Small Business Advisory Commission. I had the privilege of sitting down in a room with eight dedicated business owners from my district to discuss the challenges facing small businesses right here in our community. The result was momentous.

After hearing from Brett Schoenhals, a local coffee-shop owner, the commission voted unanimously to ask me to introduce AB 227, a bill which would reform Proposition 65 to protect small businesses from meritless lawsuits. To the relief of business owners here in our community and statewide, Gov. Brown signed AB 227 into law earlier this year, becoming only the second substantive amendment to Prop. 65 in its nearly 30-year history.

Such determination and success during the first year of the commission has inspired me, which is why I’m seeking applications from local business owners to serve on the 2014 Small Business Advisory Commission.

The Commission will meet several times in the months ahead, with the goal of formulating one or more legislative proposals that I will introduce in the upcoming legislative session.

Listening to those who have been shortchanged by the law first-hand is an imperative and sacred duty of lawmakers. Most business owners work hard to protect customers so that the customers return. This is especially true with small-business owners whose customers are neighbors, friends, and relatives. I am proud of the historic achievement of last year’s commission and look forward to working with the 2014 commission.

Individuals interested in participating in the commission should email me at Assemblymember.Gatto@assembly.ca.gov with the subject line 'Business Commission.’

Mike Gatto
Silver Lake

Editor’s Note: Gatto’s district includes Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada, and parts of Los Angeles

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