Chamber of Commerce team works with its members for business-friendly action at all levels of government.


By Brittney Sherman

Brittney Sherman

“All advocacy is, at its core, an exercise in empathy,” said Samantha Power, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. The Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce believes her quote could not be truer in today’s climate where business owners and employees need all the support and empathy they can get.

Advocacy for local businesses and the workforce has always been a central effort of the Chamber’s mission. Never has it been more important than in these past 12 months.

Here are a few causes we have recently advocated for on behalf of the Morgan Hill business community:

  • The Morgan Hill Chamber submitted a letter to Caltrans advocating for dedicated funds for the beautification of U.S. 101, which gives the first impression to representatives of potential business relocations, new developments and tourists as they enter our city. When the freeway was built, Morgan Hill was mostly a rural area not warranting the building of a wall or landscaping like northern cities. With our urbanization, the city and county land now need to be addressed by planting drought-tolerant, low maintenance trees, bushes and plants. The freeway is a gateway to Morgan Hill and needs to communicate a clean, manicured, environmentally friendly and positive feeling to visitors.

 

  • Earlier this year, the Chamber, alongside the Silicon Valley Chamber Coalition, opposed a proposal for county-wide hazard pay on the grounds that it would inflict an undue burden on business owners and could cause devastating unintended consequences to the workforce. Our organization supports fair and equal wages but does not feel that a wage increase (on top of the recent minimum wage increase that already took effect earlier this year) is supportive of the business community, especially during a pandemic. A mandatory hazard pay would increase the suffering of our businesses, which are still trying to staunch the flow of financial bleeding. It would also lead to a reduction in jobs, especially in the restaurant and retail industries, disproportionately effecting minority and low-income workers citywide.

 

  • AB219 is a school supply sales tax holiday credit that the Chamber supported via a letter to Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua. According to the Huntington Backpack Index, in 2019 the estimated out-of-pocket school expenses per student was between $1,000 and$1,600 depending on school age. Parents and educators are largely responsible for covering these additional costs. Low-income families struggle to purchase these extra supplies during standard years. With added stressors such as the COVID19 pandemic, that ability becomes obsolete. A sales tax holiday credit for the purchase of qualified school supplies will encourage parents and educators to purchase the supplies students need to be successful while also bridging the financial gap.

 

  • The discussion over distribution centers in Morgan Hill has been a long, complex and ever evolving one. The Morgan Hill business and residential community, Chamber, and the Morgan Hill Responsible Growth Coalition all share this common ground: We do not want to see Morgan Hill become the distribution capital of Northern California nor do we want to discourage future business and job growth. The recent topic of controlling distribution though “building use” versus “building design” is complicated as the decision will have both short- and long-term impact to the city, residential services and existing and future business development opportunities. We are deeply committed to economic development which provides more jobs, revenue and we are opposed to efforts that limit existing Morgan Hill business expansion opportunities. On the other hand, we understand the importance of maintaining the character and quality of life of our community. Our organization continues to spend time on this topic, holding discussions with existing business owners and developers to fully understand the impact of a design definition.

Being an advocate of the business and workforce communities, the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce team works with our members for business-friendly action at all levels of government.

Brittney Sherman
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