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Tony Strickland: Higher taxes cost Calif. jobs

Posted: January 24, 2009 9:37 p.m.
Updated: January 25, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Pink slips and going-out-of-business signs are becoming all too common in our communities.

With Los Angeles County's unemployment rate at 9.5 percent in December, the severity of this economic downturn is becoming even more visible in our neighborhoods.

Already, hundreds of vital infrastructure projects - everything from highway expansions, school construction and levee repairs - have been stopped, putting even more Californians out of work.

The nation's economic picture is grim, and some proposals to increase taxes at the Capitol would make our economic outlook even gloomier.

Raising taxes may make it easier to do business as usual in the Capitol, but it will also keep too many companies from doing business at all in California.

Companies with ever-shrinking bottom lines simply will pack up and leave California, taking precious jobs along with them. Just recently, Arizona announced a plan to lure businesses out of California.

Time and time again, California ranks among the worst states for doing business.

There's a direct connection between a healthy budget and a strong economy. More than half the state's revenues come from personal income taxes, much of which is paid by small businesses.

When the costs of doing business get too burdensome, forcing these companies to close, we lose jobs and precious tax dollars along with them.

Instead of bogging down businesses in red tape, we should be rolling out the red carpet for them to bring much-needed jobs to California.

My colleagues and I are pushing an economic package to get our state back on track again. These common-sense solutions would stimulate job creation, such as eliminating roadblocks for voter-approved infrastructure projects, streamlining the process for small business certification, expanding tax credits for businesses that hire out-of-work Californians and modifying the tax code to encourage companies to locate more jobs here.

In addition to growing our economy through job creation, we must ensure the Golden State never again faces a budget crisis like the one we are currently facing.

To limit the exponential growth of government, we need a spending limit with a rainy-day fund to protect the state from the roller-coaster budget cycles we currently face.

In addition, we need to bring more accountability to how your tax dollars are spent with state audits on the performance of government programs.

Unfortunately, these ideas to make our state better are caught up in partisan politics. But when I'm out talking to the people I represent, they don't care about partisan gridlock, they care about keeping their jobs, paying their mortgages and ensuring food gets on the table for their families.

That's precisely why I am committed to being a problem solver in the state Senate by finding areas of consensus and reaching agreement.

Tony Strickland is a Republican California senator representing parts of the Santa Clarita Valley. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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