It's no secret that our state is having a tough time right now with unemployment over 10%, cities going bankrupt, and the business climate growing increasingly hostile. In this article in Fox and Hounds today, Joel Kotkin coins a term for what we're seeing more and more of with businesses in California due to this last factor: "Oakies in reverse." In the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, thousands of migrant workers (many of which were from Oklahoma, or "Oakies"), came to California for better jobs prospects. Now, opposite of what happened 80 years ago, many are leaving our state for better job prospects.
Interestingly, Kotkin identifies himself as a Democrat, but most of the solutions he proposes to fix California's problems are things that Republicans like myself have been saying all along! He says that regulations and taxes bear much of the blame for stifling business and commerce. He also adds that our state won't be saved by the grand illusions of liberal thinking like government-backed projects will sustain and revitilize our economy.
Rather, Kotkin suggests that we tap into proven energy reserves like natural gas, lessen green legislation, and improve infastructure. He also noted that California's business community must do a better job of communicating the difficulties of their situation and making the case for a more business friendly state. They're the ones providing most of the tax revenue, after all.
Throughout my time in Congress, I have repeatedly made such a case for a more business friendly environment both here in our district and on the national level. I've run a local family business here in the Santa Clarita Valley, and I've made it a point to spend time with local business owners to see what conditions are like on the ground. I'm firmly on the side of small businesses because I understand that they are the key to driving growth and innovation, creating jobs, and keeping America's economy strong. It's good to see Democrats recognize the importance of this, and hopefully, more of our leaders at all levels of government will respond in kind.