Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) is currently president of the US Conference of Mayors. He previously served as speaker of the California Assembly. He was the guest speaker at the Jan. 18 Monitor breakfast in Washington.
The economic outlook for American cities:
"There is a great deal of economic malaise throughout the country.... It will take about five years for many of our cities to regain the jobs that were lost before this recession."
Predictions that President Obama's 2013 budget will include cuts that hit cities:
"Anybody who saw the [debt ceiling] deal last summer and then the failure of the super committee to do anything to resolve this stalemate ... knew that there were going to be serious and draconian cuts."
The nation's infrastructure needs:
"When you look at America over the last 25 years, the lack of investment in infrastructure is startling – whether it is bridges, whether it is ports or airports, whether it is highways ... whether it is high-speed rail. We've got to catch up."
Tax policy in an election year:
"[Mitt] Romney's effective tax rate ... in the neighborhood of 15 percent ... is going to generate a great deal of debate.... The corporate tax rate is too high.... The capital-gains rate is too low. There should be a middle ground here to spur investments."
Prospects for immigration reform legislation:
"The prospects of doing anything in this Congress are small. That doesn't mean we can't keep on knocking on the door and demanding that these people [in Congress] do their job. The immigration system is broken."
The California dream:
"The California dream has lost some luster. We are not making the investments in our state that we did."