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Cameron Smyth: Legislature must make job creation priority No. 1

Posted: January 26, 2010 10:54 p.m.
Updated: January 27, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 
As California navigates through another tough budget year, the Legislature must make difficult decisions that are responsible and get our economy back on track.

At a recent town hall meeting that I co-hosted in Santa Clarita with Sen. George Runner, we heard from workers and business owners who expressed deep concern about the state of our economy.

Several participants talked about their struggles to survive the "Great Recession," and how government over-regulation is making it difficult for them to retain and create jobs.

While some had different ideas about addressing the budget, everyone agreed about the need for the Legislature to put job creation first. I couldn't agree more.

With our state having one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, lawmakers must examine every line of the budget and every proposed law for its impact on jobs. If we fail to do that, then little else we do will matter.

Why is putting jobs first so important? It's important because the lack of meaningful employment opportunities for our community means lower tax collections for government - putting greater pressure on elected officials to reduce essential public services like law enforcement or raise taxes.

That is why my Republican Assembly colleagues and I are committed to doing our part to shift the Assembly's focus from less-urgent priorities to job creation.

We have established www.CAJobsFirst.com, where Californians, like you, can learn more about what we're fighting for and take a survey to express your opinions about the state's jobs climate.

Let's be clear - while the economic recession played a major role in California's current struggles, bad lawmaking created this crisis.

For years, the liberal majority passed ill-advised laws that added more fees, taxes and regulations on people who want to invest in our state and create jobs.

These actions have caused our unemployment rate to rise above the national average, drive our tax rates to one of the highest in the nation and chase jobs to other states.

It's a tragedy that solar companies like Wacker Chemie and Hemlock Semiconductor decided last year to build billon-dollar production facilities and create jobs in Tennessee because of that state's low business costs.

I have nothing against the Volunteer State, but it's a shame California couldn't lure these companies to build these facilities here.

Sacramento must not stand on the sidelines and hope that job creators will be attracted by our complex web of taxes, fees and regulations.

We must instead be proactive and pass policies that make it easier to invest here and create jobs.

While California has suffered though some setbacks in the recent past, we are still blessed with many advantages that are key to making us the Golden State once again.

With our mild weather, extensive higher education system and tradition of innovation, we can get back on our feet quickly if Sacramento changes its hostile attitude towards job creators.

The foundation for our state's comeback already exists. But Sacramento must recognize that unless it makes job creation its No. 1 priority, we will continue to meander from one bad budget deficit to another.

I am committed to doing everything I can this year to put jobs first in California so we can experience the prosperity it once enjoyed many years ago.

Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, is the chair of the Assembly Republican Caucus and represents the state 38th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Glendale, Los Angeles, Santa Clarita and Simi Valley. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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