Written by Gordon Webster, Jr.
Gov. Jerry Brown delivered his 16th and final State of the State address a couple weeks back. After reading a recap, what struck me the most — especially when it comes to infrastructure and regulatory matters — was how his “achievements” read like a litany of bad decisions that impact business.
Take SB 1, the gas tax. In tomorrow’s Business Journal, we report on a local distribution company that is dealing with a dramatic hike in its federal unemployment tax bill. Piling on the gas tax, it becomes a real burden.
Gov. Brown said: “The Vote on the gas tax was not easy but it was essential.” My question is how were our gas taxes spent before the hike?
Then there’s cap and trade, which is another effort that burdens the state’s job creators. Gov. Brown loves to hold up California as a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but the cost is borne by industries that provide the living wages that so many people are fighting for these days. And we wonder why more of these companies choose to take those jobs somewhere else.
That brings us to the train, specifically, the high-speed train, the one he said he likes best of all. Gov. Brown will do everything in his power to leave a legacy of a project that is grossly over budget, plagued by leadership problems and of little interest to private investors. Californians are lucky that Assemblyman Jim Patterson cut a bipartisan deal to finally audit the project.
I’m not sure if it’s this recreational marijuana, but things seem real screwy in Sacramento. A couple of Democratic lawmakers even floated a measure that would impose on corporations doing business in California a 10-percent surcharge on net earnings of more than $1 million — in a state with relatively high corporate tax rates already. It was framed as a way of sticking it to President Trump, but obviously it would only hurt employers.
It’s a topsy turvy state we live in — where measures that stick it to businesses are seen as feathers in someone’s cap.