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Bumps, hurdles and progress for regulatory economic analysis in California

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on March 11, 2010

Yesterday the Senate Rules Committee took up a bill that would create a new joint legislative committee to do economic impact analysis on proposed legislation. This special session bill did not get a vote, but the same bill will be heard again in regular session this spring. (Process note - SB8x 60 is identical to SB 954)

Some committee members agreed that the goal of the bill is laudable.  The generally favorable discussion is a good sign that California might become more sensitive to competitive and economic impact, especially since other state governments are working so much harder to attract jobs and provide a competitive climate for industry.  A year ago, this bill and concept would have been buried with little fanfare.

California has lost 636,000 manufacturing jobs over the past nine years.  Hundreds of new regulations each year make it almost impossible to compete, and in many cases unthinkable to make future investment decisions in the state.   This is why this bill is so important.  This is a low-cost policy that will go a very long way in turning around California's 12.5% unemployment rate and the loss of 34% of our manufacturing base -- a sector that houses many of our greenest industries.

Pro tem Darrell Steinberg agreed that we should proceed with the concept in the bill but that the idea needs work.  He agreed to convene a small working group to explore ways to incorporate economic impact analysis into the legislative process.  So stay tuned.

Senator Gil Cedillo expressed concerns about use of such a process to put the legislature in the role of determining economic and business outcomes, like we are “creeping toward socialism."  Going forward we’ll need to convince wary legislators that quality information is always a good thing and they can use it or ignore it as they please.

Have a look for yourself in these videos:

CMTA's Dorothy Rothrock

Bill author, Senator Tom Harman

Senator Gil Cedillo

Entire hearing

View Coalition support letter

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