"State government must adopt a "do no harm" approach
to statewide policy." Not my words – they were written by Lieutenant Governor
Gavin Newsom in his just-released "Economic
Growth and Competitiveness Agenda

Shorter Gavin: "Yo, lawmakers, think before you

"Do no harm" must become the watchwords for state
policy as we struggle through the halting steps of the

economic recovery – or face up to the possibility of
a double dip recession, as some observers fear.

The latest data is grim. Bank of America/Merrill Lynch cut their estimates
of 2012 GDP growth to 2.3%. Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan both slashed their GDP forecasts for
the remaining of 2011, both preceding last week’s official announcement that GDP for the first half
of 2011 came in far below expectations.

The jobs report on Friday will likely send another
warning flare to policy makers, but it is a lagging indicator. For eight of the
past nine quarters, the national unemployment rate has topped nine percent and
for the past nine quarters California’s unemployment rate has topped eleven

When California lawmakers return to work at the
Capitol later this month, they should have but two goals for their remaining 20
working days:

1. How can we jettison some of the awful, job-strangling, investment-hobbling proposals
making their way through the Legislature? (Hint: use the double-secret Suspense
File to politely dispatch these turkeys.)

2. How can we improve California’s competitive
position to take advantage of the inevitable economic recovery? A good start is
Newsom’s call for strategic focus on economic development, but fleshed out with
some important details that he elided: rolling back the litigation traps that
plague employers attempting to create jobs and investors trying to build
businesses, and bringing state regulations into the modern age by insisting
that only the most cost-effective alternative be required of those subjected to

Loren on Twitter: @KayeLoren