Written by Gabriel Dillard
Government regulation, taxes and water were at the top of the mind of Central Valley business executives, owners and managers, according to a recent poll.
Commissioned by Central Valley Business Federation (BizFed), the survey was issued to federation members — associations such as chambers of commerce representing 20,000 businesses between Madera and Kern counties.
The top business concern was government regulation and compliance, with 65% of 169 responses citing it as “extremely critical” and another 32% calling it “somewhat or moderately critical.” The No. 2 concern was taxes and fees, with 65% calling it “extremely critical” and 32% “somewhat or moderately critical.”
No. 3 was access and reliability of water, with 61% calling it “extremely critical” and 30% calling it “somewhat or moderately critical.”
Asked about public infrastructure that needs immediate attention, 47.5% cited water (reservoirs and canals), followed by 42.9% with roads and streets and 38.5% with highways and freeways.
When asked how air emission regulations have affected their businesses, the most common response with 55.8% was that it increased business costs, while 33.3% it led to higher fuel costs, 32.1% saying it forced costly compliance paperwork and 30.3% saying they were not affected at all.
The survey also asked if air quality has affected their ability to recruit and retain good employees, with 50.3% saying it does not play a factor into hiring. Another 15.8% said it does play a factor, and 33.3% were unsure.
On the policies of President Trump, “removal of Obama-era business regulations” was ranked No. 1 with 46.5% saying it was “good for business.” Another 24 percent cited newly enacted tariffs as being very bad for business. On Trump immigration policies, 22% said it was very good for business and 15% said it was very bad.
Based in Bakersfield and formed last year, BizFed has 48 member business associates. The annual poll is opportunity for them to highlight issues important to the business community, according to the organization.
“In order to provide hope and upward momentum for all valley residents, we must have a thriving economy. For that to happen, policy makers must have a greater understanding of issues faced by local businesses. The BizFed poll is an important tool that that keeps tabs on the pulse of business in the valley,” stated Darius Assemi, president and CEO of Granville Homes and chair of BizFed Central Valley.