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Reducing Roadblocks for Business in California

John A. Perez
Speaker of the California State Assembly

On Monday in the State Capitol, I was joined by business leaders from across California to discuss legislation that will ease the backlog of business filings at the Secretary of State’s office, as well as other legislation to strengthen the Golden State’s economic recovery.

Like the leaders of the California Chamber of Commerce, NFIB, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, the Business Roundtable and others that joined me, I know that California has clearly turned a corner on the recession. Our budget situation has been stabilized. Our housing market is recovering.

But we have a great deal more work to do before every Californian who wants a job can find one. One of the best ways to make that happen is helping small business start and succeed.

Last week, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee held a critical hearing on a major challenge facing California’s small businesses due to the massive delay in processing new business filings.

Currently it takes the Secretary of State’s office over 60 calendar days and 43 business days to process new business filings.

This is simply not acceptable. Every day that a business owner must wait on paperwork to be processed is a day that they are not selling to customers, hiring workers, or contributing to our recovery.

This isn’t the first time we have worked to speed up paperwork processing for new businesses. Last year, at my direction, the Assembly transferred $1.2 million from our own operating budget to the Secretary of State’s Office to dramatically reduce a backlog that had reached over 80 days.  Unfortunately, the backlog has returned. The good news is that means many new businesses are looking to start up; the bad news is they simply can’t afford the delay in processing.

Last week the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on State Operations, under the direction of Assembly member Tom Daly, took strong action to not only get rid of the backlog of business filings but to set a new standard so that by November 2013 business filings must be processed in no more than 5 business days.

To immediately get started on this, the Assembly passed AB 113 by Assembly member Bob Blumenfield and the members of the Assembly Budget Committee, to provide $2 million for the Secretary of State in the current budget year to pay overtime and hire temporary help to immediately speed up the document processing.

The Assembly is taking other actions to make California a more attractive place for businesses to invest and expand.

In January, I introduced AB 53 to further extend the scope and effectiveness of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, or GoBiz for short.  GoBiz was established by earlier legislation I wrote to serve as a resource to attract businesses to California and to put forward policies that will help improve our business climate.   AB 53 will further strengthen GoBiz’s role in California’s recovery by requiring the office to prepare a biennial California Economic Development Strategic Plan that will provide a clear road map to economic growth and competitiveness in California.

Ensuring California’s economic recovery keeps moving forward is something Democrats, Republicans, business leaders and elected officials can all agree on.

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