Written by Gabriel Dillard
Allan Zaremberg, president and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce in Sacramento, made a stop in Fresno Monday to talk business with the Fresno Rotary Club.
Zaremberg touched on a number of topics during his talk, including health care, immigration and the state legislature.
Zaremberg acknowledged the flaws of the Affordable Care Act, but also conceded that stripping away subsidies as part of a repeal and replace act in Congress would not serve to get people who cannot afford coverage to be covered.
But the extreme opposite of that take is currently in Sacramento in the form of a universal health care bill — a plan the CalChamber has called a job killer with a price tage of $400 billion. He said the measure would eliminate health insurers in the state, and would not allow supplemental health coverage in addition to government coverage.
He said he doesn’t think Gov. Jerry Brown would sign the measure, which just recently passed out of the Senate. He sees it more as a message from an emerging liberal wing that may favor Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton.
“It’s a statement by the people who are active in trying to say we are going to get rid of your choices,” Zaremberg said.
In talking about immigration reform, he noted that California and the Central Valley have “the most to gain and the most to lose” when it comes to a comprehensive solution, especially with the tech sector and agriculture relying on foreign workers.
When asked to sum up California’s business climate, Zaremberg said it was difficult given the state’s economic diversity. He said two-thirds of the state is doing well, while one-third (inland California) faces ongoing problems with poverty and employment.
A big part of the CalChamber’s mission is to protect businesses from onerous legislation coming from Sacramento. He encouraged the audience to really flex its civic duties by holding elected officials accountable and to communicate their feelings.
“Your voice is heard if you make sure they hear from you,” he said.