Government Needs to Get Out of the Way
of Private-Sector Job Creation
State Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton
As I begin my tenure as the Senate Republican Leader, I have three goals that I will make my main focus in this specific order – private-sector jobs, private-sector jobs, private-sector jobs.
With unemployment in California remaining at historic highs (currently at 12.4 percent), more than 2.3 million residents need a job. Many of this state’s current economic problems can and will be cured if we can regain a healthy private sector and put people back to work. To put California’s current unemployment figures in perspective, the total number of those in this state looking for a job is equal to the population of the fifth largest city in the United States.
Unfortunately, too many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle believe that this state’s economic woes can be solved by increasing the number of government jobs and ignoring the engine that drives this state’s economy – the private sector.
Certainly there is an important role for the public sector; we benefit from good teachers, police officers, fire fighters, public health nurses, etc. But a strong tax base from private- sector jobs is essential to bring in the revenues needed to support these vital services.
As a business owner for more than 40 years, I have a pretty good idea of what it takes to run a successful business. I’ve always believed that if government can get out of the way of business, we can unleash the entrepreneurial firepower that once made California the “Golden State.”
Instead, Democrats and many regulatory agencies, like the California Air Resources Board (CARB), have tied the hands of these entrepreneurs and made California one of the most expensive states in the country to do business. So it’s no accident that California has the third highest unemployment rate in the nation.
No one is suggesting that we scrap regulations and policies that protect California residents. What we do expect are regulations that make sense, do what they are supposed to do and don’t kill jobs. Businesses and individuals need clarity and certainty in order to plan for the future, but California has become a bill factory, churning out bills that continuously and unnecessarily change the rules of the game.
We don’t need knee-jerk regulations from out-of-control state agencies, like CARB. For example, CARB regulations imposed on diesel vehicles in 2007 were later discovered to be based on faulty research that over-estimated diesel emissions by 340 percent. These severely-flawed regulations forced many businesses to make costly upgrades to their diesel fleet at a time when the economy was beginning to suffer the effects of the current recession. The effects of these unnecessary regulations on the construction industry (and other industries that rely on diesel vehicles) were catastrophic, forcing many companies out of business.
Instead, we need to look at every regulation in California and determine if it is needed, what it costs and how it impacts job creation and retention.
Look at it this way, if we can lift the regulatory hurdles that are killing jobs and allow the small business community the ability to hire just one more person – that’s about 700,000 jobs – we could cut unemployment by nearly one-third.
The Legislature passed the latest budget in its history last week. The new spending plan is clearly not perfect, but it doesn’t raise taxes and it begins to make some of the structural reforms necessary to stabilize California’s perpetual habit of spending more than it takes in.
I stress the word “begins” because the current budget only marks the start of the structural reforms necessary to stimulate California’s economy, create jobs and help ensure every dollar you send to Sacramento is spent wisely.
Thank you Senator Hollingsworth for your leadership and the outstanding job you did in leading our caucus. I look forward to working with Assembly Republican Leader Garrick, Senate Pro Tem Steinberg, Speaker Perez and the next governor of this great state as we all work together in moving California forward and getting people back to work.
And thank you to my colleagues for the high honor of leading the Senate Republican Caucus. I commit to working hard every day to find common sense solutions to fix California’s problems.
Senator Republican Leader-Elect Bob Dutton (R–Rancho Cucamonga) serves as the Republican point person on jobs, budget and energy issues. Mr. Dutton has more than forty years of experience in the private sector and is the founder and owner of a successful Inland Empire business. For more information, please see www.sen.ca.gov/Dutton.