Jaime Rojas, Jr.
Last Friday, the national unemployment figures were released and California did not look great once again. The "golden" state came up short to having the worst unemployment rate in the nation at 12.1%, second only to Nevada at 13.4%.
Why is the state of California, home to silicon valley, Hollywood, and the largest ports in the nation, to name a few good assets, having difficulty creating jobs and maintaining businesses in the not so "golden" state? We have heard so called "experts" say America is out of the recession. But not we are told that we are still in it and it just might get worse before it gets any better!
President Obama spoke to the joint session of Congress and to the American people on national television. The President told us much about the same of what we already know....we are economically in trouble. He also unveiled his job plan for America. Both parties immediately took aim at shooting it down to some capacity. Not shocking to see democrats and republicans continuing their partisan politics and moving their personal agendas of "business as usual" tactics at the expense of the American people!
On Sunday's "Meet The Press", the ex-governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, was an invited guest. The Governor spoke about her eight years at the helm of a state facing many of the same issues as California. Interestingly enough, Granholm is a California native who grew up and went to college in the San Francisco - Bay area. She is familiar with the issues and differences facing her home state of California.
The funny thing about her responses is that I agree with many of her answers. She seems to think like a fiscal conservative. California, like most states in the union, are starving for tax revenue. The recent housing melt down, for example, did nothing in bringing new or even maintaining property tax revenue to state coffers....on the contrary it has gone down to record lows. Previous voter approved and "anti-tax" philosophy behind the passing of Proposition 13 in 1978, not only limited property tax but also required a two-thirds majority vote to raise other taxes. In the Granholm's recent book, "A Governor's Story, the Fight for Jobs and America's Economic Future", she states, "These restrictions have crippled the efforts of lawmakers to bring fiscal stability to California and have driven the state to the brink of bankruptcy repeatedly."
Spending cuts are a must and tax breaks can help, but they are only part of the overall solution. Here are some necessities needed by the states' elected officials to pump economic life back to California:
1.) Pick & invest in winning industries
2.) Develop public-private partnerships
3.) Invest more money in educating our current workforce (i.e. via the community college system)
4.) Renegotiate on public salaries and pensions that are more realistic
Tax cuts for corporation has to be tied to job creation or it does not make any sense to offer them. If not, all we will see is job creation being taken overseas. In addition, tax rates play a small role in bringing back jobs, profits, and prosperity back to California. For example, Granholm states, "For teh kinds of advanced-manufacturing, high-tech businesses we were recruiting, (worker) talent is what matters, (along with) quality of life, culture, and sheer 'coolness' factor of host cities.
With all that the great state of California has to offer, the golden state (or not so golden) should be the fastest in the nation in job creation. But unfortunately, the state government has been awfully slow or even unresponsive in today's polarized politics to solve its problems....S.O.S.....please SAVE OUR STATE!!!