L.A. vs. Small Business

Los Angeles has a reputation as a city where big dreams can come true—where you can not only get ahead, but make your fortune, as well. Although that reputation may be deserved with respect to actors, athletes and celebutantes, it holds little truth for the overwhelming majority of folks who are just trying to earn an honest living and support their families as entrepreneurs.

The situation is so dire for Los Angeles entrepreneurs that in January 2010, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa created a new, high-level position within city government to foster economic opportunity: Chief Executive for Economic and Business Policy (or “economy chief,” as the local press has dubbed the position). Although Mayor Villaraigosa should be applauded for recognizing that a problem exists, it does not take an “economy chief” to see what the problem is: Los Angeles entrepreneurs are being strangled by red tape—unreasonable and arbitrary government regulation.

This report highlights just a few of the regulatory barriers that hardworking Angelenos face every day in trying to launch, run or expand a business. Many of the obstacles are created by the city itself; others, by county or state government. Regardless of their source, however, these barriers make it difficult, if not impossible, for entrepreneurs to earn an honest living in the City of Angels.

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