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.