When part of our California landscape is burning, we send in the firefighters. The California dream is ablaze for millions of able men and women whose ability to support their families has gone up in smoke. The California Legislature will adjourn the 2011 legislative session on Friday, Sept. 9. Taking bold action in the next three weeks will not require more tax revenue, but it will require bipartisanship, political will and a relentless focus on passing laws that will encourage and enable the private sector to create new jobs for Californians.
Our 12 percent unemployment rate — with more than 2 million unemployed workers — is not a Democratic or Republican problem, it is a California problem. When Californians are not working, we have a poverty problem and a state revenue problem. California currently has the second highest rate of unemployment in the nation, an almost unimaginable situation given the vast resources of this great State. And it is getting worse. We have 53,000 fewer Californians working today than a year ago.
Is there any doubt that our 120 legislators should focus 100 percent of their attention in the next three weeks on bills that will put their neighbors and constituents back to work by making it easier for the private sector to invest in California? Bipartisanship and job creation must become the rallying cry or we will simply be setting the stage for another 4 billion dollars in budget cuts in January.
The leadership in both houses and parties should be wedded to supporting proactive legislation that dramatically improves the climate for job creation in manufacturing, technology, small business and construction. This can be accomplished by passing laws that reduce the layers of regulation that force countless delays, add unnecessary costs and discourage investment. Passing true regulatory reform would be a bright light to companies housed in the State and a welcome flair to investors from across the globe.
Legislators should not hide behind the excuse that this is a national problem and that they cannot do anything to improve the California economy. Nor should they buckle to constituent groups that only want union jobs, green jobs or high tech jobs. Twelve percent of Californians need a job today and that figure is growing. How long will it take to connect the dots between streamlining regulations, growing jobs, improving the quality of life and increasing tax revenue? It's time to turn our legislators into firefighters and put Californians back to work.
And that's The Business Perspective.
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