Every day, families in our communities are feeling the pain of California’s economic meltdown and lack of job opportunities.
Unemployment in the Sacramento region has grown to 12.4 percent, which local economists say is a modern record. The unemployment rate has doubled in just 2 years. Nearly 83,000 people in our area have lost their jobs over the past few years as companies have been forced to cut jobs in California, relocate to other states or close their doors altogether.
But the global recession is only one reason why so many jobs and opportunities are leaving our state. Reckless policies passed by the State Legislature in recent years have contributed to making California the state with the most expensive business costs in the nation, according to an annual Forbes magazine survey. This is unacceptable.
As a small business owner myself, I know first hand just how difficult the Legislature has made it to create jobs in California. Every day, businesses like mine have to pay high taxes and fees and comply with dozens and dozens of mandates and regulations just to stay in business in our state and keep jobs here.
It is irresponsible that the Legislature has created a jobs climate in California that discourages job creation, rather than embraces it. The more than 2.2 million Californians out of work today deserve better than a state government that seemingly goes out of its way to chase jobs away.
Thats why there is no more important priority for the Legislature than putting California jobs first. The only way to help our economy recover in California is through job creation.
We cannot sit back and allow jobs and opportunities for hard-working Californians to disappear to other states and even other countries because the Legislature has put in place so many barriers to opportunity and prosperity in our state.
To make California more competitive with other states and bring back jobs, lawmakers must go through all of the rules and regulations currently on the books. Those that are hurting the economy, threatening job creation and putting people out of work must be set aside. Then we must take steps to make California more competitive with other states.
One way we can do this is by offering incentives to companies to create jobs, which has already proven successful in the auto industry. As the chairman of the Legislative Automotive Study Group, I have been very concerned about the competitiveness of Californias auto industry and the disappearance of auto manufacturing jobs from our state.
This was most recently exemplified by the announcement that Toyota would close the Fremont-based NUMMI auto manufacturing plant, the only one of its kind in California.
By taking steps to lower the cost of doing business here and offering incentives to create jobs for those out of work, we can make a difference in luring businesses and jobs back to our state.
Assemblyman Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, represents the 4th Assembly District in the California Legislature.
*Assemblyman Ted Gaines -Op-ed