By Assemblyman Brian Jones
August 10, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--Have you ever sat down with friends to enjoy a meal at a restaurant, only to be handed the bill before you have even taken your first bite? Maybe the server mentioned you could pay at your convenience, but still signaled that it was “time to go?”
In other words: “Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry?”
If you’re a small business owner in California you can probably sympathize with this social scenario – you enjoy all that California has to offer – the beautiful weather, magnificent landscapes, and diverse culture make this a great place to live, but you are getting some not-so-subtle signs that it may be time for you to pack your bags.
Rather than being the “land of opportunity,” the Golden State has become an expert in “showing people the door.”
According to a recent two-month survey of more than 6,000 business owners nationwide by Thumbtack.com, small business owners put California near the bottom of the list of states that have a very hostile business environment. Not surprisingly, these same business owners gave California an “F” grade for business friendliness.
Here’s why: California has the highest sales tax in the nation at 7.25%, the second highest gas tax in the nation, and business owners currently pay the highest income tax rate in the country. To make matters worse, California has the highest corporate tax rate in the West at 8.84% and has an out-of control lawsuit climate.
The result is that California’s economy has virtually ground to a halt. For evidence, look no further than right here in San Diego, where 9 major companies have submitted notices this year alerting State officials of roughly 730 layoffs. Are these companies, which include such heavy-hitters as Lockheed Martin, Yahoo!, and Sony Electronics looking to stimulate the economy elsewhere? Maybe, but what is certain is that they are bidding goodbye to our local community.
The bottom line is, whenever a company shuts down, downsizes, or fails to expand, California loses billions of dollars in revenue that could help provide services to those who are truly in need. It also curtails investment in our schools, and instead places education at risk of being hit with devastating trigger cuts.
I envision a California that could lead the nation when it comes to economic recovery. Instead, we are showing businesses the door, and lest anyone thinks that means some faceless executive, we must remember it’s our neighbor or member of our family. It’s the small business owner who has been crushed by California regulations. My Democrat colleagues insist that extracting more money from hardworking taxpayers is what will turn things around, but in truth, the private sector is what will generate economic recovery. Higher taxes are never good, but in a recession they equal more misery, and will stifle growth and opportunities for everyone.
Small business owners are earnestly looking for some signs that they are welcome in California – I have personally spoken to many who are being advised to “get out while you can.” It’s about time we turn the “Keep Out” sign into a “Welcome Mat”.
California is a beautiful state, but aesthetics alone aren’t powerful enough to skirt our dismal economic climate. Let’s keep the door open for job creation … permanently.
Assemblyman Brian Jones, R-Santee, represents the 77th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Alpine, Borrego Springs, Bostonia, Casa de Oro - Mount Helix, Crest, El Cajon, Granite Hills, Harbison Canyon, Jamul, La Mesa, Lakeside, Ramona, Rancho San Diego, San Diego, San Diego Country Estates, Santee and Winter Gardens.
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