CMTA president presents California problems and solutions to Contra Costa workforce development officials

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, April 7, 2006 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

This week, CMTA president, Jack Stewart, spoke to 200 attendees at the Contra Costa County Workforce Development Board's annual conference regarding the manufacturing sector as a solution to California's problems.

Stewart's "Empowering Manufacturers to Lead the Way" speech highlighted the average salaries of California's expanding and declining sectors.   Over the past five years, California's expanding sectors provided an average $38,693 salary while the state's declining sectors (manufacturing included) provided an average $53,520 salary.  This is the central focus of CMTA's advocacy efforts – give workers better opportunities for better paying jobs by revitalizing the manufacturing sector through fair tax policy, regulatory reforms and vocational training programs.  Substantial opportunities come from manufacturing because it creates wealth, increases exports, expands research and development/innovation, and fosters a ripple effect throughout the economy.

Underscoring why manufacturing and other high-wage sectors have declined, Stewart listed California's cost burdens, negative business perceptions and poorly performing schools and workforce training programs as the most glaring problems.  The state is still 24 percent more costly than the rest of the country in terms of manufacturers' operating costs.  Recently, sixty seven percent of surveyed executives perceived California as one of worst states in which to operate.  And, since 1987, California's high school enrollment increased by 48 percent, while career tech training enrollments decreased by 32 percent because of a void in vocational training courses.

Closing his remarks, Stewart outlined CMTA's solutions to make California a high-wage thriving state: 
  • Create a "Commission on Industrial Innovation" to make manufacturing retention and expansion a priority in state government (AB 2860, Ted Lieu, D-Torrance);
  •  Increase vocational training in high schools and junior colleges to provide the best possible opportunities for students;
  • Implement a 5 cent sales tax exemption on the purchase of manufacturing equipment (AB 2218, Alberto Torrico, D-Newark);
  • Ensure that any greenhouse gas emission reduction mandates are cost effective and put California at the forefront of global warming policies that do not burden the California economy;
  • Increase energy supply through liquefied natural gas and reduce energy rates for industrial users; and
  • Stay the course on workers' compensation reforms.
More data:  Download Stewart's powerpoint presentation (25 slides)
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