By Fran Blackney
Well it’s over for the year – the onslaught of proposed new regulations and laws has ended and we can all take a much needed breather until we start all over again next year.
Once again, our representatives in Sacramento made every effort to further regulate and thwart private business growth. Many proposals were killed in session but many, too many, made it to the Governor’s desk for his signature – over 800 in fact. That sounds like a lot but the process started with over 2,400 proposals. So I guess you can say that 1/3 is a victory.
Brown’s signature and vetoes were all across the board. Even though he vetoed 7 of the 10 NRA opposed gun bills, he still signed more than he vetoed. He swerved left on immigration but stymied most environmental issues including banning plastic bags statewide.
He surprised us with his view on several fracking bills. Fracking is a method of removing gas and oil from the ground. The only bill he signed mandates notification to neighbors of fracking projects with full disclosure of the methods and chemicals used. He turned away the drastic fracking ban resolution so there is some hope that fracking may become part of an incredible economic boost to the California economy that is being enjoyed by other states such as North Dakota.
Brown agreed with the Cal Chamber’s determination of “job Killer” bills by vetoing all but one, and it’s a doozy – raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2015, the highest minimum wage in the country. There is much jubilation among many that their paychecks are going to increase, however, they’re ignoring that prices will go up and many will have fewer hours or no jobs at all.
We call minimum wage hikes the Teenage Unemployment Act. So few teens have paying jobs now. Just think what’s going to happen as the wage increases. As unskilled, inexperienced workers they can’t win against older, more skilled workers who have to consider minimum wage jobs in this economy.
It’s not that employers are mean ogres who hate their employees. Quite the contrary. They determine the rate and timing of raises based on their profits and business plans. When the government steps in and mandates a hike, most employers are financially unprepared to spend the additional funds. Also, their employees making wages higher than the minimum wage legitimately feel they deserve an increase also. Employers know they can only raise their prices a certain amount so more uncomfortable adjustments must be made. Add on the effects of Obamacare and additional regulations and it understandable why this law will create some economic havoc.
As we have written numerous times, government and business act like oil and water. Very seldom do you see pro-business government actions. One exception is the city of Clovis’s recent decrease in fees to attract new business. But you should consider that perhaps those fees were too high to start with so the decrease is bringing them down to a reasonable place. (We applaud the city for this action)
The answer to this incompatibility is easy when you consider who runs the government both in Sacramento and especially Washington, DC. With very few exceptions, including our representatives Assemblyman Jim Patterson, State Senator Tom Berryhill and Congressman Devin Nunes, most have never owned a business. They don’t acknowledge the hardships their programs cause for business owners especially of small businesses. Government types expect owners to nod in agreement and just go along with these programs and regulations. Instead, businesses will do whatever they have to in order to keep their profits up and companies afloat. This often means cutting payrolls. Basically, government programs hurt the economy and employment.
Assemblyman Jim Patterson has been putting up the good fight against these new laws. He is especially concerned about the compulsory prevailing wage mandated on charter cities. “Forcing payment of prevailing wages on charter cities when the state is not even footing the bill destroys the autonomy and local control intended by the voters when these charters were approved. This is bad policy that will stunt the growth of our cities and their ability to attract businesses.”
State Senator Tom Berryhill understands the impact of government regulations. “The Governor signed 9 out of every 10 bills he was sent. What was NOT sent is more telling. Measures to spur job creation, enact regulatory reform and address our failing water system did not make it to the Governor’s desk. I would have preferred we focus our efforts on creating jobs, reducing regulations, taxes and all of the other constraints that negatively impact our business community rather than adopting policies that will not get people back to work or, like the increase in the minimum wage, that will hurt our economy.”