Prioritize BEFORE you tax, cut, spend and regulate

Gino DiCaro
Vice President of Communications for the California Manufacturers & Technology Association

A friend recently gave me advice on Sacramento’s mess and the California electorate’s disposition. "People aren’t worried about their taxes, they’re worried about their jobs," he said. "The entire Legislature just doesn’t get it."

My friend was making a deep-rooted comment on California’s priorities.

The state’s chaos stems from mis-prioritizing everything. Taxes, cuts, spending and regulations in California all currently arise out of the unaccountable expectations of a short-term legislative roster with no long-term strategy for private-sector jobs. Put simply, job growth incites rhetoric in press releases but it doesn’t find its way into bills and analysis.

If I were a pollster, I would take six months to ask as many Californians as possible this question: "Would you accept a one-cent tax increase on all goods manufactured in California if it would guarantee high-wage private job growth in the state?" The chorus of "Yes" would undoubtedly follow. Try asking that question among your peers and see what happens.

This is a plea to discourage current policy makers from repeating the mistakes made during the past decade. (Note that California’s decline did not start with the current worldwide recession.) It is a call to understand that policies must first seek to grow and retain high-wage private sector jobs. California’s  competitiveness will uneqivocally make or break our economy and state government over the next 10 years.  It must be a top priority going forward from California’s current debacle.

California lost 564,000 manufacturing jobs as the consequence of eight years of neglect and abuse, so eight years of concentrated effort and TLC likely will be required to restore them.

California’s economic rebirth, private-sector job security, "green" leadership, and bold, but paid-for, government will start only with the acknowledgement that the most active part of any successful economy is the manufacturing community.

Here are some recent and updated points to consider about high wage manufacturing and the economy:

California needs manufacturing
Milken Institute report:

  • Year 2000 levels of California manufacturing in 2008 would have resulted in approximately $75 billion more in wages and $5 billion more in income tax to the state
  • For every one manufacturing job, 2.5 more jobs are created
  • For every one high-tech manufacturing job, 15 jobs are created
  • California average manufacturing wage: $66,000

Americans want manufacturing
According to a Deloitte Touche study on manufacturing:

  • 71 percent of Americans view manufacturing as a national priority
  • 81 percent of Americans agree that manufacturing has a significant impact on their standard of living

California spending priorities evident

California losing higher-wage jobs

Largest manufacturing county in the

country has been cut in half

  • L.A. manufacturing jobs in 1990: 824,700
  • L.A. manufacturing jobs in 2009: 400,600

Media not helping to circulate the story

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