It has been said that the first step of solving any problem
is to admit that a problem actually exists. 
Ignoring or denying the problem only makes it worse in the

In California, we clearly have a jobs problem as we have the
nation’s second-highest unemployment rate at 11.9 percent.  At the same time, we also pay one of the heaviest
tax burdens in the nation, including the highest sales and gas taxes and the top
business income tax rate in the West. 
Respected publications such as Forbes
and Chief Executive have also ranked
the not-so Golden State as one of the worst places to do business.

Now comes a new report from the
Virginia-based Mercatus Center at George Mason University that confirms the
obvious: California is one of the least friendly states for freedom in the
nation.  We rank 48th out of
50 states for having policies and laws that restrict the ability of people to
pursue their dreams.  I believe it is
this lack of freedom that makes it harder for us to attract the investment and
jobs we need to turn our state’s economy around.

The report’s authors noted that "California not only taxes and regulates its
economy more than most other states, it also aggressively interferes in the personal
lives of its citizens."  The Mercatus
Center suggested we cut state spending and relax labor laws to boost
employment.  In contrast, states that
rank much higher in economic freedom such as South Dakota and Texas (ranked 1
and 15 respectively) have lower unemployment (4.9 and 8 percent
respectively).  Not coincidentally, these
states also have lower tax and regulatory burdens on its job creators than

These facts and rankings would seem to imply to any fair-minded
person that there is a correlation between private-sector jobs and government
policies.  However, the ruling party who
controls the Legislature and holds every statewide office thinks otherwise.

Most members of the ruling party refuse to admit that we
have a jobs problem that has shown no signs of improvement.  Even as I led a bipartisan delegation of
lawmakers to Texas last April to learn why it was creating jobs while California
was losing them, liberal politicians said our state did not have a jobs
problem.  One official even said our
state was a "winner" in job creation. 
Try saying that to the 2.2 million Californians looking for work.

These liberal politicians ignored the fact that Texas added
more than 165,000 jobs from January 2008 to December 2010, while California
lost 1.2 million jobs in the same time frame. 
They said our nice weather and fledgling "green economy" will continue
to attract investment.  Oblivious to
reality, they were instead pushing bills that would raise taxes even further
and add more regulations on businesses, such as telling hotels which bed sheets
to use.

Sacramento needs to wake up and recognize that restricting
the freedom of entrepreneurs will not create jobs in our state.  As manufacturing jobs continue to flee to
other states and countries, we cannot afford to lose further ground.  With virtually all economic indicators
projecting a "jobless" non-recovery for the state in the future, the
Legislature needs to be proactive about putting job creation first.  That means reining in out-of-control spending
we cannot afford and streamlining laws that discourage investment.

In other words, California’s Legislature needs to adopt a
business-friendly approach that recognizes that more taxes and regulations mean
less freedom – and fewer jobs – for Californians.  If we unshackle the restraints that make job
creators think twice about coming here, I am confident we can have a much more
vibrant economy that will reduce unemployment.

Dan Logue, R-Linda, represents the 3rd Assembly District in the California