Poll: Jobs, Regulations, Taxes and Trains

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

Many business people have raised concerns over excessive regulations hampering business growth and job creation. However, at first glance, it appears that California voters don’t make the connection between regulations and job creation in a new Public Policy Institute of California survey. According to the poll, a plurality of likely voters and all adults picked jobs and the economy as the most important issue facing people in California. At the same time, likely voters and all adults agreed by a wide margin that the statement government regulation of business is necessary is preferable to the statement that government regulation does more harm than good.

Business owners are not opposed to regulation. Excessive regulations, added paperwork, and suffocating mandates on how businesses operate are the issues that frustrate small business owners. The PPIC question asked for an up or down verdict on all regulation, which doesn’t reflect the real world. Regulation and mandate reform—not eliminating regulations– likely would lead to economic growth and job creation.

The issues of jobs and the economy have long been the top items of concern for Californians of all stripes. Improving the business climate and creating more jobs would go a long way to bolstering other areas of concern for voters including providing enough revenue to carry out government services and reducing the need for larger government programs when people have jobs.

The revenue question is tied to taxes and PPIC asked voters if they were comfortable with the current state and local tax system. 53% of likely voters said the current system was either very or moderately fair while 45% of likely voters said the system was very or moderately unfair.

A setback for tax reformers who want to change the state tax system that relies so heavily on high-income earners came in the form a question asking if major changes are needed in the state and local tax system. While 44% of likely voters agreed with that sentiment, the percentage is down significantly from 54% that agreed major changes were needed when PPIC asked the same question in May of 2015.

Furthermore, the strongest support for the current tax system came from those on the lower end of the income scale. California’s mentality for taxing the rich appears fine with those voters, meaning any change away from the current tax structure would be hard to accomplish.

PPIC tested the on-going debate about the high-speed rail with 28% of likely voters agreeing that the bullet train is important “for the future quality of life and economic vitality of California.” Another 29% said it was somewhat important. The figures are consistent with past PPIC questions on the bullet train. However, when asked if the $64 billion project should be built 48% of all adults said Yes, 46% said No; 41% of likely voters said Yes, 54% said no.

PPIC noted that 66% of those polled said they would favor the high-speed rail project if it cost less.

When voters approved the nearly $10-billion bond to kick off the high-speed rail in 2008, they were told it would cost much less, about half the current price tag. Few now believe the current projected cost will hold. If the true cost were revealed when the bond was on the ballot there is a good chance it would have failed. The bond passed with a less than a 53% vote.

Comment on this article


Please note, statements and opinions expressed on the Fox&Hounds Blog are solely those of their respective authors and may not represent the views of Fox&Hounds Daily or its employees thereof. Fox&Hounds Daily is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the site's bloggers.