Business groups say fewer regulations would spur growth
Half of the slightly more than 400 businesses responding to a recent poll cited California's thicket of environmental, financial and other regulations as a disincentive to retaining or hiring workers or making new investments, the California Manufacturers & Technology Assn. says in survey results to be released Friday.
The responses -- which were compiled by the manufacturers group, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the California Restaurant Assn. and other groups -- come at a time when Republican and Democratic lawmakers are pushing bills in the statehouse to lighten the regulatory load.
Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown also has told GOP budget negotiators that he's willing to consider regulatory streamlining as part of a deal to close a $15-billion shortfall.
According to the survey, which is ongoing, 84% of respondents said they would not consider starting a business in California if they were not already here. Seventy-two percent said they did not have plans to grow by more than 10% in the next five years.
The main lesson of the survey is that too much regulation is bad for job creation, the manufacturers group said.
"California state government does not systematically research the impact of regulations on the economy," said manufacturers association President Jack M. Stewart. "The insights could support a strategy for regulatory reform to encourage new investments and job growth."
To that end, the state Senate Governmental Organization Committee on Tuesday will hold hearings on seven bills that call for conducting economic analyses and reviews of existing and proposed business regulations.
One such proposal, SB 400 by Assembly Republican Leader Bob Dutton of Rancho Cucamonga, would require state agencies to conduct such a cost estimate, including the short- and long-term effect on job creation.
"What I hear from the business community is that too often the regulations passed in Sacramento have severe negative impacts on their ability to operate effectively," Dutton said, "to the point where they are forced to lay off employees or shut down completely.
Another bill, by Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello), would direct state government to conduct "a top-to-bottom review" of regulations to identify outdated provisions. The agencies would then hold publilc hearings to seek input about cumbersome or unneeded rules, Calderon said.
-- Marc Lifsher