Assemblyman Hagman discusses private vs. public jobs
At a time when 2.2 million Californians are out-of-work, even Democrats now agree that job creation must be government’s top priority this year.
It seems everyone is now talking about jobs, but actions speak louder than words, especially when it comes to votes on pro-jobs legislation.
Recently the California Chamber of Commerce, an organization familiar with the job creation process, ranked lawmakers on their votes on crucial legislation last year. Assembly Republicans earned a cumulative 99 percent rating while Assembly Democrats received a 26 percent rating.
Although it is good that Democrats are at least talking about jobs this year, they are not talking about creating an economic climate that is favorable to private sector entrepreneurship.
Instead, they are talking about jobs subsidized by taxpayers, financed by unsustainable big government programs in health and welfare. Democrats claim that their approach would protect jobs yet what they don’t say is that their proposals would only protect government jobs. These jobs are tied to powerful public employee unions who have resisted attempts to cut costs to help the state live within its means.
In contrast, Republicans have pushed a package of bills this year designed to jump-start private sector job growth because we recognize that real economic growth comes from areas such as manufacturing and retail. The main reason our economy is weak is because the private sector has lost almost 1.3 million jobs since 2005, resulting in drastic declines in tax revenues. Even worse, the state has added more than 38,000 government jobs in the same time period according to figures provided by the Employment Development Department.
These numbers make it clear we have a jobs crisis in the private sector, not in government. Assembly Democrats ignore this reality by rejecting spending reductions. Instead they proposed a complicated scheme of more borrowing and more taxes on job creators to protect the growth in government jobs. These higher taxes include $900 million in new oil taxes each year, which would cause gas prices to go even higher. This would be in addition to other proposals to raise taxes on income, car registration, and even Internet sales. In the end, the people who would lose the most under the Democrat approach would be taxpayers forced to pay higher taxes and employers who will find it even more costly to create and retain jobs in California.
As a small-business owner, I understand that job creation must expand in the private sector. To stimulate private sector job growth, I have supported proposals to streamline the permit process for new businesses and to also provide investment tax credits to emerging industries. I also authored legislation that would ensure existing funds help businesses train new employees which would be used for its intended purpose only, and not diverted to protect welfare programs.
Unfortunately these and other Republican ideas were killed by Democrats, who continue to push for higher taxes. More taxes will cause the private sector to shrink even further. If we want California to get back on track, then the Democrats who lead the Legislature need to realize that we need private businesses to prosper here, rather than in other states. The sooner they realize that, the sooner we can get people back to work.