WESTWOOD (CBSLA.com) — Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Friday extended the welcome mat to prospective new businesses in Los Angeles through 2015.

KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports the mayor signed the ordinance at an architectural design firm that took advantage of the tax break to open an office in L.A.

Under the 2010 Gross Receipts Tax Exemption, companies are waived from paying municipal business taxes for three years if they create jobs in the city.

Villaraigosa signed the extension at the new Wilshire Boulevard offices of HKS Architects – a global firm with 29 offices on four continents – a firm he said encapsulates the impact of such an exemption.

“We’ve had a 150 percent increase in the number of businesses that have come into the city since the business tax holiday,” said Villaraigosa. “It’s just been a game-changer.”

Google, Beverly Hills BMW, Farmer’s Insurance, Blackline Software and Telscape Communications are among the biggest firms that have relocated to Los Angeles to capitalize on the tax holiday.

Villaraigosa said that rather than a loss in revenue from diminished gross receipts taxes, the city has seen a net increase from new business, sales and hotel taxes, with over 1,200 new firms grossing $500,000 and above taking advantage of the tax loophole in 2012.

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