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Steve Knight: It’s time for a new approach

Posted: May 2, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: May 2, 2014 2:00 a.m.

In the 1976 movie “Network,” Peter Finch delivers the famous line, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

Taxpayers and businesses are reaching that point of frustration – even though voters allowed their taxes to be raised in 2012 to help California balance its budget. Couple that with the fact that the majority continues to erode California’s economy by introducing dozens of “job killing” legislation each year, and it’s clear that they have no interest in trying to keep your taxes low nor to expand the opportunities for private business to grow and create jobs.

Study after study proves that California continues to be one of the most expensive places to do business. Just this week, Toyota announced that it will be moving its sales and marketing headquarters, which employs more than 5,000 residents, form Torrance, Calif., to Texas. Instead of introducing legislation that kills more jobs in California, this Legislature should be removing regulations that burden job creation.

Let’s look at this year, for example. In January, the governor announced a state budget that saw $6 billion in revenues finally exceeding the state’s estimated expenditures. While Republicans were urging that the state use some of your taxpayer dollars to pay down its “wall of debt” that has amassed over years, the majority party has introduced new bills to spend every last penny of that surplus – and more.

To pay for that additional spending, the majority party has introduced legislation that again takes aim at your pocketbook, including new gas and oil taxes.

If that weren’t enough, despite an unemployment rate at 8.1 percent and more than 1.5 million California residents in need of a job, liberal legislators have introduced more than two dozen bills deemed “job killers” by the California Chamber of Commerce.

Consider this: if California could make it easier for small businesses to hire just one more person, that would mean more than 650,000 would have an opportunity to get to back to work, giving our state one of the lowest jobless rates in the nation.

I’m hopeful that the taxpayers and private sector business owners who are reaching the frustration level of Peter Finch and myself are ready to do something about it. We need more legislation like Senate Bill 415 and Assembly Bill 777, which will provide favorable regulatory and tax treatment for California’s booming private aerospace industry.

We also need to look at our future generations and prepare them for aerospace and other tech jobs so California can continue to compete on a global level. It’s imperative to keep children interested and engaged in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in order to create a generation of tech savvy employees who may compete for these well-paying jobs on a global scale.

Once such program I introduced to my District schools is TEALS, which is sponsored by Microsoft and stands for Technology Education and Literacy in Schools. This innovative program bridges the gap between the shortage of skilled computer science graduates and the growing demand for computer science job opportunities by bringing technology professionals into local classrooms. To date, five schools have been selected in the Antelope and Santa Clarita Valleys, and I look forward to assisting more school’s applications in the coming years.

So, we can get “mad,” but the action we take is what really counts. Lawmakers who recognize the benefits of a family and business-friendly state through creative legislation and programs will help bring the “Golden” back to California.

Senator Steve Knight (R-Palmdale, represents the 21st Senate District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities throughout the Antelope, Santa Clarita, and Victor Valleys.



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