The California Chamber of Commerce is at the forefront of a broad,
non-partisan effort to rehabilitate the state’s image and improve the
climate for investment and job creation.
California will eventually
enjoy an economic recovery, but the strength and depth of our rebound –
and the fiscal health of state and local governments – will depend upon
making the state more competitive for job creation, new business
formation and new capital investment.
The five pillars of economic recovery are:
- Reducing the regulatory and litigation costs of hiring new employees and keeping them on the job;
Ensuring certainty and stability of private investments in plants,
equipment and technology, including a fair and predictable tax
- Investing in public works that provide the backbone for economic growth;
Providing a world-class education to prepare high school students
for work or college, and supporting public colleges and universities in
their student preparation and technology innovation missions; and
- Ensuring transparency and accountability at all levels of government, and fostering private enterprise and markets.
1. Reduce the regulatory and litigation costs of hiring new
employees and keeping them on the job, and provide more flexibility in
the law for both employers and workers.
- Simplify meal and rest period rules – Clarify meal period rules regarding timing of the meal period, on-duty meals, providing meal periods and employer liability.
- Adopt flexible work schedules
– Return to a 40-hour weekly overtime rule to bring the state back in
line with the rest of the nation. Create more options for employees who
wish to work more hours and fewer days.
- Protect and expand workers’ compensation insurance reforms – Bolster historic cost-saving reforms by offsetting increased costs with additional changes to the system.
- Reform independent contractor definitions – Clarify, simplify and safeguard independent contractor tax status. Make it easier for new businesses to form and prosper.
- Reduce excessive litigation by reforming laws on punitive damages and class action lawsuits –
Set appropriate limits on punitive damages similar to those adopted by
other states and curb frivolous class action lawsuits to make the state
less inviting to forum shoppers.
- Protect the right to use arbitration –
Oppose efforts to prohibit or unnecessarily limit employers from use of
arbitration and other means of alternative dispute resolution.
- Protect Proposition 64 reforms
– Support legislation that addresses court interpretations that
reversed pleading and class action standards established by voters in
- Reform "sue your boss" law – Build on past reforms to remove the incentive to trial lawyers to file meritless lawsuits against employers.
certainty and stability of private investments in plants, equipment and
technology, including a fair and predictable tax structure.
- Stop tax increases masquerading as "fees"
– Overturn case law to ensure that fees are limited to payments for
government services or direct regulatory programs, and are not a
smokescreen for new and higher spending programs.
- Defend the two-thirds legislative vote for tax increases
– The surest check on overspending and growth of government is the
supermajority legislative vote for new taxes. As bad as the fiscal
climate is today, it would be far worse without it.
- Oppose punitive taxation that undermines economic development and stability of investments, such as:
or limiting net operating loss deductions, research and development
credits, and the elective single sales factor, as contemplated by a
proposed ballot initiative.
taxation of targeted industries or groups, such as e-commerce, services
industries or high-income workers or investors.
- Imposition of a split roll property tax.
- Repeal 20% penalty for understatement on corporate income tax returns.
- Increase manufacturing jobs
– Provide a sales tax credit for investment in manufacturing equipment.
California is one of only a few states that taxes manufacturers on
job-creating investments in plants and equipment.
- Protect enterprise zones – Defend and strengthen these important economic and community development incentives.
- Reform California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) –
Alleviate unnecessary expenses, delays, uncertainty and litigation
traps of the California Environmental Quality Act. Ensure that CEQA
does not exacerbate businesses’ burdens under AB 32.
- Minimize compliance costs of climate change law –
Require a peer-reviewed analysis of the economic costs by industry
sector and region to implement the elements of the AB 32 scoping plan
prior to adoption of the plan. Ensure that any new cap-and-trade
regulatory mechanism is implemented at least cost to the economy,
without raising taxes and growing government, and is harmonized with
any federal cap-and-trade legislation.
- Reform the Endangered Species Act – Revise state and federal laws to achieve a balanced approach between environmental protection and socioeconomic progress.
3. Invest in public works that provide the backbone for economic growth.
- Adopt a comprehensive water policy
– Support expeditious implementation of 2009 water policy compromise,
including financing and development of additional water supplies,
storage and conveyance facilities.
- Reauthorize the Federal Surface Transportation Act – Support our congressional delegation to ensure that California receives its fair share of federal transportation dollars.
- Expand the state’s energy infrastructure to improve energy reliability and affordability
– Ease barriers to building new electrical transmission lines, liquid
natural gas regasification plants, and natural gas pipelines. Invest in
research and development of new fuel technologies.
- Expand the use of public-private partnerships for infrastructure projects –
Provide additional and broader authority for public entities to partner
with private entities to finance, design, build and maintain
- Create business-friendly port policies – Implement policies that restore port trade volumes to previous levels and incentivize economic growth and job creation.
- Improve goods movement infrastructure – Enhance and construct corridors to ensure goods move quickly to markets and minimize congestion.
a world class education to prepare high school students for work or
college, and support public colleges and universities in their student
preparation and technology innovation missions.
- Defend the current accountability system
– Oppose rolling back the state’s accountability measures and hold
schools accountable for attaining a minimum of grade-level proficiency
for all students and improve assessment systems.
- Align workforce and college readiness –
Require all 11th grade students to take the Early Assessment Program
and aggressively remediate students in the 12th grade, to reduce
college and workplace remediation.
- Define "teacher quality" as the ability to improve and maintain student academic achievement –
This measure should be used to implement a performance pay system for
outstanding teachers and administrators, and as a tool for evaluating,
remediating or terminating school professionals who do not perform
- Improve fiscal transparency and effectiveness – Improve disclosure of the costs of education and hold schools and districts accountable for their use of taxpayer funds.
- Maintain a long-term financial and policy commitment to higher education –
California’s university and college systems are the envy of the world
and a clear competitive advantage for the state. Investments in these
institutions will continue to pay dividends to California’s economy,
and should be at the top of the public policy and financial priorities.
5. Ensure transparency and accountability at all levels of government, and foster private enterprise and markets.
- Improve accountability of elections for state office – Change primary elections for statewide and legislative offices so top two vote getters advance to general election.
- Require economic analysis of regulations –
Establish a formal administrative process to develop economic impact
analysis prior to implementation of new regulations and review certain
current regulations for their economic impacts.
- Require economic analysis of legislation
– Establish a comprehensive and dynamic economic impact analysis in the
Legislature and the Executive Branch that analyzes policies before they
are passed or adopted. Create dedicated committees in both the Senate
and Assembly to review all legislation for their effects on the state’s
economy and jobs.
- Increase free trade
– Support free trade worldwide, expand international trade and
investment, fair and equitable market access for California products
abroad, and eliminate disincentives that impede the international
competitiveness of California business.