The level of schizophrenia within the State Capitol appears to be hitting a new high when it comes to the topic of job growth in the state.
Lawmakers know that manufacturing jobs provide high wages and a ladder to the middle class, and this legislative session they delivered much-needed bills to attract new investment and jobs to California through tax breaks and other incentives.
But at the same time, lawmakers passed bills that will kill the good jobs we already have by hurting factories with deep roots in California.
Senate Bill 270 (Padilla) is a perfect example of the job-killing impulse that’s far too common in the Capitol. This misguided measure to ban plastic bags and impose a minimum 10-cent tax on paper bags will punish the poor and shut down a small-but-important California industry. No other state in the nation has sought a statewide plastic ban coupled with a paper bag tax, and we should not be the first.
California manufacturers, businesses and other organizations are opposing SB 270 for the following reasons:
- SB 270 imposes an estimated $700-million tax on thousands of small businesses and millions of struggling and working class Californians who are already dealing with rising food, gasoline and energy prices.
- SB 270 ignores the fact that paper bags are compostable and recyclable already. And calling them “single-use” ignores the obvious fact that people use them over and over and over for a wide variety of purposes. Carrying groceries out of the store is just the beginning of their useful life.
- SB 270 unnecessarily meddles in the free marketplace. It mandates that grocery stores charge consumers at least 10 cents per paper bag, with no price cap, and all proceeds are to be kept by the supermarkets. Like any business, supermarkets already have the power to raise or add prices for their goods and services. They shouldn’t be told by government what to charge, but should just compete among themselves to offer consumers the best mix of products and prices.
Job retention is just as important as job creation. Bills such as SB 270 send a message to both current and future employers, though, that California is a risky place to do business where tiny or even imaginary problems can lead to dramatic legal and regulatory changes that can kill your entire business. Manufacturers rely on stability and consistency from elected officials to make their decision about investment, expansion and hiring. If SB 270 becomes law, it will be further proof that our business climate is as unstable as our fault lines.
Bag manufacturing isn’t as glamorous as the high-flying Silicon Valley or Hollywood, but the jobs it provides are just as valuable to the people who work on the production lines and the hundreds of families who depend on those paychecks.
Gov. Brown should find a cure to the state’s schizophrenic approach to jobs. By all means, let’s create new jobs and industries. But let’s not forget about protecting the jobs we already have in California. Otherwise, all the hoopla about job growth will be little more than a wash.
Please veto SB 270, Governor.
State Senator Ted Gainesrepresents the areas of Sacramento, Folsom, Placer, El Dorado, Lassen, Shasta Siskiyou and many more. Ted Gaines is a small business owner who has operated a successful insurance business for more than 30 years. During his first year in the State Senate (2011), Ted achieved two legislative victories with Senate Bills 593 and 751 becoming law, creating greater sunshine and accountability in both the public and private sectors.
Jack Stewart is President of the California Manufacturers & Technology Association. Named to the President’s position March of 1998, Mr. Stewart has been with the Association since 1992. The California Manufacturers & Technology Association (CMTA) is a statewide, non-profit, mutual benefit association and has a proud 85-year history as an advocate for the men and women whose ideas and innovations make the world run, and whose spirit created the most dynamic economic engine in history.