Con­stant in­con­sis­tency

Imperial Valley Press - - OPINION - AR­TURO BO­JORQUEZ Ar­turo Bo­jorquez is Ade­lante Valle Ed­i­tor.

Last week the Cal­i­for­nia Cham­ber of Com­merce re­leased its score card of the state’s 120 law­mak­ers, grad­ing them on how they have voted on bills con­sid­ered im­por­tant for busi­ness health and job cre­ation.

Given the Demo­cratic su­per ma­jor­ity in both cham­bers of the Leg­is­la­ture, most of the state se­na­tors and as­sem­bly mem­bers flunked the eval­u­a­tion.

In the up­per cham­ber, only 14 of our 40 state se­na­tors voted con­sis­tently in a man­ner CalCham­ber con­sid­ers pro-busi­ness, while in the As­sem­bly 31 out of the 80 law­mak­ers did the same.

Ac­cord­ing to the list, no Demo­cratic se­na­tors re­ceived pass­ing grades, but five Demo­cratic Assem­bly­men did.

Our rep­re­sen­ta­tives, state Sen. Ben­jamin Hueso and As­sem­bly­man Ed­uardo Garcia, also flunked in the eval­u­a­tion. Out of 14 Se­nate bills con­sid­ered in CalCham­ber’s eval­u­a­tions, Hueso was in align­ment with the cham­ber’s in­ter­ests on one. Garcia, mean­while, was in agree­ment with the cham­ber on one of 15 As­sem­bly bills and ab­stained vot­ing on three.

Both law­mak­ers vote yes on AB 2770, the Defama­tion Pro­tec­tion Act.

Bills over which our law­mak­ers and CalCham­ber were at odds in­volved land use, cor­po­rate gov­er­nance, tax rates and cost of do­ing busi­ness, health­care in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums, la­bor code man­dates, net neu­tral­ity and oth­ers.

CalCham­ber said this 44th vote record was com­piled in re­sponse to nu­mer­ous re­quests by mem­bers and lo­cal cham­bers to gauge the per­for­mance of leg­is­la­tors.

Ac­cord­ing to the cham­ber, many anti-busi­ness bills were re­jected in com­mit­tee, so they never went to the floor.

The cham­ber also said most bills in the re­port cover ma­jor busi­ness is­sues that are of con­cern to both small and large com­pa­nies.

How­ever, the or­ga­ni­za­tion said some­times leg­is­la­tors are un­will­ing to sup­port CalCham­ber’s op­po­si­tion to a bill overtly and in­stead elected to hin­der pas­sage of those bills by ab­stain­ing.

Ba­si­cally, we’re talk­ing here about leg­isla­tive mea­sures that would ei­ther make it eas­ier or harder to do busi­ness in this state, and in most cases, the state’s largest busi­ness ad­vo­cacy group says most of our law­mak­ers con­sis­tently side against busi­ness on these is­sues.

Un­for­tu­nately, cre­at­ing an eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment that is hos­tile to busi­ness and job growth is not the ex­clu­sive do­main of our state law­mak­ers. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump him­self threat­ened to kill hun­dreds of thou­sands of jobs in Cal­i­for­nia and else­where with his threats to can­cel the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment.

And now he’s do­ing the same thing in his cru­sade against trade with China. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port by the Cal­i­for­nia Bud­get and Pol­icy Cen­ter, in our U.S. Con­gres­sional District 51, rep­re­sented by Demo­crat Juan Var­gas, the value of goods ex­ported to China was $189 mil­lion in 2016. Although this num­ber may pale next to those of other dis­tricts, it is still sig­nif­i­cant and rep­re­sents a con­sid­er­able num­ber of jobs.

It is clear our pub­lic of­fi­cials, from San Diego to Wash­ing­ton, are not par­tic­u­larly con­cerned about our fi­nan­cial fu­ture, es­pe­cially in the Val­ley where un­em­ploy­ment re­mains nearly 20 per­cent.

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