Response from the business community over Governor Jerry Brown’s selection of Congressman Xavier Becerra as the next attorney general will be muted for the most part. Not a surprise. Why would any business leader want to make a negative comment about someone taking over such a powerful position, and in the alternative would a business leader say something strongly positive considering the Congressman’s record as measured by business interest groups is a mixed one?
California Business Roundtable president Rob Lapsley offered a neutral welcoming comment that Becerra’s “leadership and integrity in government and the community have earned him bipartisan respect.”
The National Federation of Business/California’s president Tom Scott was tougher.
“As Congressman Becerra transitions into his new role as California Attorney General, unfortunately he brings with him a long, dismal voting record on important small business issues. During the 114th Congress (2015-2016), Becerra only voted with small business 7% of the time.”
Scott went on to point out disagreement with Becerra on bills dealing with health care reform, labor mandates, and legal reform.
While the 7% score cited by NFIB was the low score among business groups that rate congressional members, Becerra did not ring up many points with most other business groups, either. He tallied a 31% score with the United States Chamber of Commerce and 12% from the National Association of Manufacturers. However, the American Council of Engineering Companies was more favorable, approving 67% of Becerra’s votes.
Business also is leery of the new Attorney General-designate considering the praise he received for progressive groups, which often battle business in the legislature. For example, the liberal Courage Campaign applauded Brown’s selection of Becerra with executive director Eddie Kurtz stating in a release, “Becerra has a proven record of standing up to big corporate interests…”
Becerra, who prior to receiving Brown’s nod, was hoping to be the lead Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, scored a 100% rating from the Citizens for Tax Justice for supporting progressive taxation, while being tabbed a big spender by the National Taxpayers Union, receiving a 23% rating on tax votes.
As the business community watches the prospective attorney general get comfortable in his office another question business has to ponder–will the new AG be fair in writing those important titles and summaries on ballot measures crafted by business, governmental reformers and labor?