[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text width=”1/1″ el_position=”first last”]Former Governor Gray Davis has a simple message for Sacramento: do not pass laws that will cause California to lose jobs. Davis emphatically announced his recommendation to business, community, and elected leaders at the fifth annual Southern California Economic Recovery and Job Creation Summit. Davis believes that the economy needs time to recover and that Sacramento needs to allow that to happen. “I am proposing a moratorium on any legislation that is more likely to reduce jobs than create jobs,” Davis announced. He later recommended that any legislation causing job loss should not be considered for five years.
The conference, hosted by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), brought together policy and economic experts to provide an in-depth analysis of the region’s economic recovery following the great recession. The Summit’s panelists focused primarily on California’s over-regulatory environment and workforce readiness.
Economic experts agreed that the SCAG region is on pace to regain the jobs it lost during the recession but are concerned that the new jobs coming into the economy are not the same well-paying middle-class jobs that were present in 2007. Gray Davis is worried that over-regulation in Sacramento is keeping much needed middle-class jobs out of the state. “The reason why California is the envy of the world is that people… believe that if they have talent and they work hard, good things will happen in California; most of our lives that has been true, that is now under challenge,” commented Davis during his address. He went on to cite a dismal statistic that California ranks 46th in the Nation in the time it takes for a new project to be approved with the average wait time being 17 years for transportation projects. In response to the delay, the former Governor added, “It means that your son and your daughter have a better chance at getting a job in 45 other states than California… we cannot afford to wait 17 years for new jobs to come online.”
In addition to over-regulation keeping jobs out of the state, panelists agreed that there are many high-paying jobs in the region’s economy that are going unfilled. California employers continue to report a “skills gap” between workforce supply and demand. An alarming set of statistics were given regarding income disparities and education achievement between the Bay area and Southern California. The median Bay area household income is over $80K; more than $20k higher than that of the SCAG region. 43% of Bay area residents are reported to have a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to only 29% of the SCAG population.
The SCAG has prioritized workforce development as a key component to bring families living below the poverty line into the middle-class. The SCAG presented its “Regional Action Plan on Poverty” that entails closing the workforce skills gap through improvement of K-14 education, reformation of adult education, and expanded apprenticeships. Key to the plan’s implementation will be establishing deliberate pathways to employment opportunities through utilization of public funds like the California Career Pathways Trust and the newly implemented Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) that was signed into law this past July by President Obama.
California policymakers began introducing new legislation for 2015 starting December 1 and will continue to launch hundreds of bills up until the February 27th deadline for new bills to be introduced. The Legislature will be slightly more balanced in 2015 with neither party possessing a supermajority stronghold. It will be interesting to see if the former Governor’s advice is taken seriously with a legitimate proposal to ban job killers for five years. There are certainly ample issues for the new class of Legislators to address; keeping an economic perspective when doing so should be taken seriously.
The TACC prioritizes policy analysis centered on economic impacts of legislation and advocates for policies that will increase economic growth and create good jobs in the economy. The Chamber encourages its members to be involved with the Legislative Process; members can get involved in many different ways. The TACC’s GAP group organizes meetings with legislators, writes and calls elected officials consistently, and can provide timely and relevant information. For Legislative updates or to get more involved check out the GAP webpage.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator height_2=”25″ height=”25″ show_border=”yes_border”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text width=”1/1″ el_position=”first last”]
Brandon is the Governmental Affairs Coordinator for the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce. His primary responsibilities include facilitating the Chamber’s Governmental Affairs Policy (GAP) group, planning Chamber events with legislators, and facilitating the Chamber’s Political Action Committee (PAC). Feel free to contact him at any time.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]