New Jobs Will Balance Budget

Public Affairs Consultant specializing in Issue Advocacy and Strategic Communications

On Monday night, several lawmakers could be overheard in the Southwest Terminal in Sacramento saying that layoffs are eminent as are tax hikes and more spending cuts. (They were assuming that the budget reform initiatives were going to fail the next day—and they were proven right!).

Sadly, we don’t hear more about improving our business climate to generate new tax revenues and to reverse unemployment trends. So, here is a quick list of ideas for more than a handful of legislators to consider:

· Give manufacturers more incentives to operate in California, particularly in areas where large employers have gone out of business (i.e. auto dealerships).

· Provide employers some help in creating jobs instead of downsizing their workforces.

· Take another big step in protecting employers from lawsuits that are unheard of in almost every other state.

· Allow for some meaningful tax credits for employers who provide health benefits to employees and their families.

· Further improve air and water quality by making it easier for business owners (and homeowners) to purchase energy efficient appliances and invest in water efficient landscaping and operations.

Rarely will you hear anyone engaged in state politics disagreeing with any of the above proposals, most of which are introduced as bills every year in the Legislature by Republicans and Democrats. Sadly, these bills die in committee or in the budget process because the state cannot “afford” to implement them.

Instead of debating how the state cannot afford them, legislators should be debating how the state could afford them—especially after the folks paying those taxes come back to California.

It is going to take some leadership to improve our business climate, which will help California generate short and long term tax revenues for renewed fiscal stability. And it’s going to take some visionary lawmakers to get together and prioritize the most effective programs to preserve as well as the types of private sector jobs we want to attract to California.

If more lawmakers can show some backbone and go against the grain more often, voter confidence can be restored—and new jobs and tax revenues will be created.

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