It’s More About Legislative Job Retention Than Job Creation


Californians want them.

They want to keep the ones they have or get new ones, preferably at higher pay.

A recent poll by the Public Policy institute of California found that half of those surveyed were most concerned about jobs and the economy.

So isn’t it remarkable that California’s Senate Democrats are pimping a package of 25 bills – “Agenda 2010” – that they say will generate 140,000 jobs. Equally shocking, Senate Republicans say the Democratic plan is a big steamer comprised primarily of government pump-priming hooey. The superior alternative – natch — is their 22-bill job creation package that stimulates the private sector.

In his State of Disbelief speech, the governor told Californians his highest priority was to create jobs, jobs and more jobs – stealing a line from the charismatic former Gov. Pete Wilson.

A $3,000 bounty for employers who hire the unemployed, a sales tax exemption on green technology equipment, an as-much-as-$10,000 check to first-time homebuyers, tort reform – as defined – and a relaxation of environmental review on 5 transportation-related projects will “retain or create” 100,000 jobs and provide training for another 140,000 persons.

Right. That’s almost as believable as the governor and the members of the Senate saying they are embarking on a successful career in exotic dance.

First, whoopty-friggin’-do. In December, there were 14.4 million Californians working in non-agricultural jobs, according to the state Employment Development Department. A federal survey puts the number at over 15 million. So all this heavy breathing and chest beating is about, at best, 1 percent of the workforce.

There are some 2.2 million Californians unemployed. Back patting might be warranted if 1 million jobs were being created.

This, of course, assumes jobs will be created by these pieces of legislation.

Reality check: With extreme prejudice, the Legislature’s Democratic majority will terminate whatever the Republicans propose, regardless of merit. Much of the jobs package pitched by the Republicans – allowing more flexible work schedules, clarifying meal break laws, health savings accounts – has been killed before and, zombie-like, will be killed again only to stagger and lurch in a future legislative session.

As for the governor’s proposals, trial lawyers perceive his proposal as tort deform not reform, Democrats don’t bestow bounty on employers and lame ducks are, in short, simply that. Home ownership polls somewhere close to Norman Rockwell so maybe, if a Democrat becomes the author of the bill, the kickback to first time homebuyers might survive.

That leaves “Agenda 2010” as the jobs package that will be sent to the governor. “Flummery 2010” is a bit more accurate.

Read the two bills Democrats say will generate more than 104,000 jobs – two-thirds of the total jobs allegedly created by their package.

Don’t read the self-congratulatory summaries on the “Agenda 2010” website. Read the two actual bills. In fact, read all the bills in the Democratic package. It’s one very seriously nekkid emperor.

Examining the two bills – SB 965 and SBX8 36 – leads to the following discoveries. The bill from the eight special session – still unclear as to what’s so special about this one or the previous seven — orders the state Department of Transportation to come up with a list of highway projects that can be awarded within 90 days after the state receives as much as $3.7 billion Congress has yet to approve. Beyond the fact there is no federal money at the moment to pay for any projects, how long of a list equals 54,000 jobs?

The second bill says that the nearly $2.3 billion California received from the federal government to build a high sped rail line linking San Francisco and Los Angeles should be given to the High Speed Rail Authority. The authority would still be the recipient of the money without the legislation and needs to find another $2.3 billion in matching funds before the federal dough can be spent.

Another “job creation” bill, SBX8 27, says that in case the federal government allocates money from the National Housing Trust Fund, the $193 million California gets should be given to the state Department of Housing and Community Development where, assuming the money is ever authorized, is the place it would go – with or without the legislation. That creates 2,965 jobs according to the “Agenda 2010” webpage.

Picking and choosing various changes in federal tax law to adopt in California’s tax codes – SBX8 32 — is supposed to generate 7,600 jobs.


And even so, does California really want 7,600 more accountants?


Filed under: Venting


  1. If you’re going to make fun of job creation efforts, why not go all the way. Our governor preaches “jobs, jobs, jobs,” one day and proposes throwing 400,000 low-wage homecare providers out of work the next. Last time I checked, homecare workers and other public employees paid taxes and contributed to their state and local economies just like their private-sector counterpsrts.

    Comment by stevefromsacto — 2.20.2010 @ 10:54 am

  2. ‘Tis better to look good than BE good or DO good … and much easier with less political liability.

    To everything, spin, spin, spin … (with apologies to the Byrds!)

    Comment by SugarMuffin — 2.21.2010 @ 2:50 pm

  3. @stevefromsacto

    Come-up with a new trope. Your, “400,000 low-wage homecare providers” is getting really old.

    Comment by NoOneInParticular — 2.22.2010 @ 12:54 pm

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