K. Lloyd Billingsley - Contributor
[Courtesty of Pacific Research
Billingsley is Editorial Director for the Pacific
Research Institute and has been widely published on topics
including on popular culture, defense policy, education reform,
and many other current policy issues. [go to Billingsley index]
More legislation to destroy business...
[K. Lloyd Billingsley] 9/23/03
are much worse than we expected. Things are much worse than you
know. . . There is a strong conviction
that government is no longer working . . . The picture is of
a government frozen, without the vision or will to formulate
policies or carry out long - range plans for the benefit of all
people . . . You're not going to have enough money even to argue
about it, unless you get jobs to pay taxes. There is an exploding
shortfall. California will run out of money in a dramatic way,
right around the corner."
The speaker was Peter Ueberroth,
but not during the current election campaign, from which he dropped
out. It was in April, 1992, when
he headed the Council on California Competitiveness, commissioned
by then - Gov. Pete Wilson in response to the flight of jobs
from the Golden State.
a former Olympic organizer and baseball commissioner, said
that the biggest part of the problem
was government. California,
the Commission's report noted, had to create about 300,000 new
jobs each year to generate enough taxes to pay for services such
as health, welfare, and schools for the 600,000 new annual residents.
But it wasn't happening because the state had become "a
well-honed job-killing machine."
The Commission recommended
making it easier for companies to meet state environmental
requirements and called for lower taxes,
including capital gains, and free-trade zones. Other recommendations
included the use of mediators to avoid the courts system, measures
against those who file frivolous lawsuits, tighter controls
on education spending, vouchers for school choice, a longer school
year and school day, and a vocational education program linked
closely to industry.
For the most part, the state did not follow
these recommendations. And, as predicted, it ran out of money
in a dramatic way. But
few recalled the warning of Mr. Ueberroth and his Commission.
And even after a deficit of nearly $40 billion, politicians
are honoring the job-killing machine with even greater vigor.
Senate Bill 2 forces companies with more than 50 employees to
provide workers with health care and those with more than
to provide health care for workers and their families.
Those companies that fail to do this will be taxed. As Daniel
of the Sacramento Bee pointed out, this amounts to a tax
on hiring, creates a disconnect between supply and demand,
make a bad problem worse. Under such a regime, companies
will take care not to expand and will be likely to consider
Other measures create similar incentives.
last year that employers are not liable for sexual harassment
customers or clients. Yet Assembly
Bill 76, backed
by the National Association of Women and California Labor
Federation, would make employers liable for the sexual
harassment of employees
by customers. With sexual harassment now construed as
eye movements and gestures, one could expect plenty of lawsuits
- and businesses
heading out of California or closing down.
of jobs is not a new problem, and California has had ample
warning. Whoever winds up running the state
a hard look at the recommendations of Mr. Ueberroth's
Commission. If such warnings continues to be disregarded,
last company to leave California will turn out the
unless, of course, there's already a blackout.
2003 Pacific Research Institute