Now that our state legislature has returned to Sacramento, it’s time to call them out for the legislative malpractice they continue to commit on the moribund California economy. While they and the Governor found time to enact 745 new laws last year, almost none of them does anything to improve the state’s pathetic business climate, and quite a few—surprise!—will make it worse.
Small business owners keep getting hit with petty, boneheaded, and costly mandates that, cumulatively, are a drag on productivity and profitability. And although our legislative leaders intone with great solemnity that “small business is the backbone of our economy,” their actions say otherwise.
Even though the state economy remains sluggish, the Governor and legislative leaders want to raise taxes, diverting even more money out of investment and consumption. In none of those 745 new laws do we discern the slightest willingness to make government cheaper, more modern, or less intrusive. No, taxpayers are expected to shell out more for the same kind of government we’ve had for decades. What’s the definition of “insanity,” again?
Citizens should reject new taxes until, at the very least, the legislature and the Governor demonstrate the willingness to turn California’s dreadful business climate around. The tax vote will be in November; they’ve got ten months to show us that the money will buy something valuable.
Here’s an easy step they can take: enact an immediate two-year moratorium on new regulations impacting small businesses. Stop the endless and unsustainable government meddling in starting and managing a business. During that time if a truly significant unanticipated problem arises that cannot be solved without a new regulation, the legislature can grant an exemption by a 2/3 vote.
Every week another 50 pages are added to the California Code of Regulations, an out-of-control intervention into our economy that has no oversight or review. Agencies add regulations without consideration of either existing local, state, and federal rules or of how the accumulated impact of each new requirements forces small businesses to change their business practices yet again.
We must use the two years of the moratorium to systematically examine the entire regulatory monstrosity and ruthlessly reform or dump any rules that, by restricting the freedom our Constitution says we are supposed to “secure and perpetuate,” depresses legitimate economic activity.
The only reason California skulks towards the bottom of state rankings of the business climate is that our leadership stubbornly refuses to face the fact that they have permitted too much government adventurism in the private sector. Aggressive meddling in the marketplace stifles the free range of innovation and productivity that have characterized our economy until the past four decades, and has led to a slow but steady deterioration of California’s prominence in the global economy
A moratorium on new regulations and commitment to a resolute reassessment of the entire regulatory regime would send an instant message to investors and markets alike that we are serious about making California the best state to do business again.
Our political elites may prefer trying to salvage a system that can no longer be sustained; small businesses cannot afford the indulgence. It’s past time to think outside the box; the box itself has fallen apart.
The Preamble to our state Constitution boldly declares the reason for government at all: to secure and perpetuate the blessings of our God-given freedom.
The Golden State desperately needs the same kind of boldness and energy that small business owners bring every single day to their companies, customers, employees, vendors, and communities. Let’s stop making it worse through mindless expansion of the nanny government, and focus on the only thing that has guaranteed, throughout the history of America and the great state of California, peace and prosperity: maximum freedom of citizens to pursue happiness through our own efforts.