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Speaker Bass Launches Task Force for CA Economic Recovery

Los Angeles Sentinel, News Report, Staff Posted: Feb 23, 2009

Following approval of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) today announced the formation of a new Assembly task force to develop a blueprint that identifies a comprehensive approach for spurring the state's economic recovery.

The Assembly Stimulus, Economic Recovery, and Jobs (SERJ) Task Force will be led by Assemblymember V. Manuel Perez (D-Coachella), chair of the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy. Over the next three months the task force will work to flesh out a strategy, in conjunction with local governments, business leaders, workers, and community groups to best leverage new federal funding and address the state's immediate economic needs and long term goals for a more vital and sustainable economic future.

"While we are still working furiously to find one additional Republican Senator to vote for the budget, it is also important to maintain focus on some of the primary areas of concern in this recession: maximizing the benefits to California from federal stimulus, finding creative ways to speed California's recovery, and turning the state's job losses into job gains," Bass said. "California's economy definitely needs a surge, and I am confident the SERJ Task Force will find ways to help achieve just that."

In addition to Assemblymember Perez, members of the task force will be the chairs of Assembly standing committees with relevant jurisdictions.

"While the federal government has the ability to print money and control monitory policy, due to its size, the federal government has a limited ability to bring about targeted investments," Perez said. "The state's economic recovery, however, will not be evaluated on how many programs or resources were made available. Rather, the success of the state's recovery will be measured on whether the lives of individuals within our local communities have improved. Without a blueprint to guide our actions, we are likely to be unable to maximize the benefit of federal stimulus dollars."

Outreach is being planned through public hearings, local economic round tables, and wide distribution through the Internet. Broad outlines for an initial economic recovery be discussed during a statewide economic stimulus conference in Sacramento on February 19th. A joint legislative hearing will held on March 5th with community meetings being scheduled in March and April. In May, a follow-up legislative hearing is planned where Assemblymembers can hear reports from local and regional meetings sponsored by the SERJ Task Force. In addition several key Assembly committees will be holding hearings in the coming weeks on ways to maximize federal economic stimulus dollars and improve California's outlook for job creation.

"Today the capitol is honoring Captain Chesley Sullenberger, the man who skillfully navigated US Air Flight 1549 through its emergency landing," Bass said. "Though it's a different kind of emergency, I'm pleased that Assemblymember Manuel Perez and the members of the Assembly's SERJ Task Force will be helping navigate California through our fiscal crisis and will be harvesting a wide range of creative ideas and best practices to bring jobs and economic recovery to California."

Bass, who consistently lobbied the Obama Administration and congressional leaders to ensure California received its fair share of federal stimulus funding, also announced that she has asked all Assembly policy committees to hold special hearings on how their particular areas of jurisdiction can help maximize the state's economic recovery activities. Those hearings begin next week.

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