Public Policy Framework
The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce is committed to being a Catalyst for business growth, Convener of leaders and influencers, and Champion for a stronger Santa Maria Valley. One of the essential ways we deliver on that commitment is through active engagement in policy and regulatory discussions that impact the competitiveness of our community. In doing so, we seek to be a trusted source of information, ensuring that elected officials, regulators, and enforcement staff understand the impacts of their decisions on the competitiveness of our businesses and economic health of the community.
The Chamber actively monitors proposed legislation and regulatory proceedings and reserves the right to comment on behalf of the business community when appropriate to ensure decisions are well informed as to their impacts (for good or ill) on the ability of businesses to operate successfully. The Chamber regularly updates our members with information about proposed legislation/regulations that will impact their operations or the general business environment.
The Chamber Board has adopted the following general policy positions to serve as a screen for determining when to speak and what to say on behalf of the organization.
SMVCC Policy Positions
Growth in local employment, along with increases in personal and business income is essential to the economic well-being of the community. The Chamber is committed to ensuring that local employers remain strong and competitive, and that new businesses are attracted to, and created within, our community. The Chamber is also committed to the improvement of community attributes that materially influence decisions by employers and employees to locate and remain in the community, including the quality of health care, educational achievement, public safety and other factors. These efforts should be focused on ensuring the Santa Maria Valley is the regional retail, office, medical and industrial hub of the Central Coast.
The Chamber has identified six (6) key areas of emphasis to guide our advocacy work. We believe that if the community gets these issues right, businesses will be able to successfully operate and grow, leading to economic vitality which will make Santa Maria the community of choice on the Central Coast in which to live and work.
Policies adopted by local, regional, state, and federal governments have direct and significant impact on the ability of businesses to operate successfully. The Chamber recognizes that successful communities require rules and acknowledges the important role that public agencies play in setting the frameworks within which communities thrive. Within those frameworks, the Chamber supports policies which ensure the ability of businesses to operate as they believe maximizes their long-term success. Excessive regulation, delays due to inconsistent or unpredictable procedures, arbitrary requirements, increased exposure to litigation, and special assessments, taxes or fees represent considerable added costs and may deter investment. We support efforts to develop regulatory environments which encourage, rather than stifle, growth and productivity.
A well-planned community gives businesses and residents the best chance to succeed and create economic vitality. Clear, reasonable, and consistently applied zoning and related requirements provide a framework in which investment decisions can be made with confidence. In order to ensure those conditions exist, the Chamber advocates for …
- adequate investment and support for quality of life issues such as public safety, arts and recreation opportunities, and health care services such that Santa Maria is viewed as an attractive place to live and work
- an adopted long-term General Plan which recognizes business success and growth as an essential goal of the community and includes policies which support that objective
- an adequate supply of development sites to accommodate new and expanding employers which are serviced by the infrastructure and support facilities necessary for them to thrive; phasing of these properties for actual development should be handled through land use and growth management policies
- the evolution of the Broadway corridor, and other historical commercial zones when and if appropriate, to include mixed use projects featuring increased housing and a broader range of permitted goods and services
- ensuring that planning, zoning, and land use issues remain local decisions with little to no regional, state, or federal interference
- ensuring that processes important to business establishment and expansion are streamlined, efficient, and supported to ensure they do not become roadblocks to new economic activity
- requirements that all new regulations and/or fees be reviewed to ensure that costs are outweighed by measurable benefits
Employee Relations (Employment & Labor)
The costs associated with hiring workers, maintaining a safe and productive workplace, and complying with related governmental regulations often represents the largest ongoing cost for many companies. The Chamber believes that it is critical to balance the rights of employees to “fair play” in the workplace with employers’ rights to operate their business successfully.
The Chamber embraces the idea that a successful and vibrant community requires a shared responsibility of stewardship over our natural resources. We support efforts that seek to strike a balance between environmental improvement goals and sustaining economic vitality. The Chamber advocates for sound policies related to sustainable practices, waste reduction, air and water quality, and water supply.
The Chamber believes that it is critical that appropriate investments are made on a timely and strategic basis to ensure the basic infrastructure of the community is adequate to meet the needs of the community and local businesses. We support policies and investments that ensure modern and efficient water, transportation, energy, and communication systems are in place and are well maintained. We also support policies that facilitate adequate and diverse housing development within the community.
Workforce Preparedness and Education
Ensuring a continued pool of educated, well-trained local workforce is essential to the growth and continued success of the community and its businesses. The Chamber supports policies and investments that ensure a strong and well-aligned local education system starting with pre-K through four-year and graduate degree granting programs. We encourage programs that allow for the rapid re-training or up-skilling of the existing workforce. The Chamber also supports policies that ensure a predictable and affordable system for accommodating the need for guest worker labor, particularly for local agricultural needs.