March 31, 2016 – California Central Valley Economic Development Corporation (CCVEDC) board members recently met with 23 State Legislators, officials and consultants to discuss issues vital to the economy and the business climate in California.
“The Central Valley legislators were extremely supportive of the CCVEDC’s efforts to assist valley businesses with their attraction, expansion and retention needs.” stated CCVEDC President Lee Ann Eager. “They understood our priorities and vowed to help us with the business climate in the State and the Valley”.
Regulatory Reform topped the list of issues in Central Valley followed by the need for Business Development Incentives in high unemployment areas, and Permanent Upstream Water Storage.
“One of the issues we shared with legislators is that the Governor’s Incentive Program is not working for businesses in the San Joaquin Valley. We asked that they review the program and make modifications to assist companies here in the Central Valley to compete with firms in the Bay Area and Southern California. It proves once again the California is too diverse to have a successful one size fits all legislation,” said John Lehn, CCVEDC Board Member and Past President.
The Central Valley is a prime location for advanced manufacturing, distribution, energy development, water technology and other industry sectors which support California’s identity as an innovation leader. With available land, buildings and the workforce to support industry, the CCVEDC members work daily to promote the Valley and all of California for business expansion and location.
Companies are leaving and deciding not to locate or expand in California due to laws and regulations adding greater expense and administrative burden than competing states. “Costs relating to energy, environmental regulations and personal leave top our employers’ list of concerns, stated Eager. Employers leaving our state have characterized the burden as, “Death by a thousand cuts.” In our business development missions to other states, real estate brokers and site selectors cite this concern in almost every meeting, suggesting that California is well down on their list of places to locate or expand.”
“The Central Valley legislators were extremely supportive of the CCVEDC’s efforts to assist valley businesses with their attraction, expansion and retention needs.” stated CCVEDC President Lee Ann Eager.
Within the topic of Regulation, CCVEDC members discussed the impact of:
• A Minimum Wage Hike. As Governor Brown stated in the 2016-17 budget proposal, “minimum wage laws are not free. They raise the operating costs of many businesses and the state must shoulder higher wages in its programs”. CCVEDC maintains that the current minimum wage should be stayed until a thorough economic analysis of the current impact is available. Legislation or ballot measures that promote increases to the minimum wage were encouraged to be opposed.
• Personal Leave Laws. Even as businesses strive to comply with California’s multiple leave laws, new and revised rules make it difficult or impossible for employers to lawfully track and report. The relative cost of these extraordinary leave laws place California businesses at a competitive disadvantage, and render a California location or expansion undesirable.
• Serial lawsuits over Disability Access in focused businesses or cities have resulted in significant costs to businesses, including legal costs and settlement of lawsuits. Legislators were supportive to allow businesses a reasonable period of time (i.e. 120 days) to comply with disability access laws after receipt of a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) report of deficiencies, without being subject to statutory penalties or litigation costs.
In addition to valley legislators, the group met with the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy; the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GoBiz), and High Speed Rail Authority officials.
CCVEDC is a not-for-profit Corporation supported by the 8-county region in the Central Valley and PG&E, whose mission is to attract and retain jobs and investment in the Central San Joaquin Valley counties of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern.