Some Hopeful Signs for Business Under the Capitol Dome

Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

California’s notoriously bad reputation for business seems to be making an impact with the leaders of the state’s government. Proposals have been floated and corrections offered to help improve California’s poor business environment. We’ll see how far these measures get in a legislature not known as business friendly.

Governor Jerry Brown and Senate president pro tem, Darrell Steinberg, have voiced support for modifying features of the California Environmental Quality Act that is often used as a roadblock to business development.

Assembly Speaker John Perez and a legislative committee responded to news that the Secretary of State’s Office had a six week backlog in approving business filings by demanding a five day limit to process the filings. Perez said he would expedite legislation to fix the backlog and increase the Secretary of State’s current budget by $2 million to get help right away. Further, the proposal is to increase future budgets to hire staffers to clear up the backlog.

It was noted in a Sacramento Bee piece about the legislature’s move on the business fillings issue that unlike Texas, which has an automated online system for business filings, California still is stuck in a paper work system from the 20th century while awaiting an automated system to come online.

In the state that pushes the horizon of new technology, it is mind boggling to read all the negative stories coming out of Sacramento about failed computer systems and far-from-up-to-date technology.

Another sign that Sacramento recognizes government imposed burdens on business is Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s AB 227, which would give businesses 14 days to fix any problems related to a violation of Proposition 65’s warning requirements. Businesses would have time to make adjustments and avoid lawsuits.

Note that all the legislators mentioned above attempting to improve the business concerns are Democrats.

Another positive sign that business concerns are having an impact under the capitol dome – and I realize the following statement is premature and is bound to change – but so far the California Chamber of Commerce only lists one bill in its renowned Job Killer log. SB 626 would undo parts of last year’s workers compensation reforms.

We’ll see how business fares by the end of the session.

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