By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
It's about time California copied Texas' approach
Placeholder Image
I am one proud dad and one proud American.

Last week I was fortunate enough to watch my youngest son graduate from Air Force basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. It's a day I will not forget.

If you ever get the feeling that there is no good coming out of the young generation, spend a day or two like I did on an Air Force base. I cannot describe the emotion I felt to see these young men and women who are serving our country.

But I have to share with you an insight I got on our flight to Texas. We had a transfer at LAX and the plane to San Antonio was full. In the back of the plane was a polite clean-cut kid who was sitting near the window. I asked if the seats were taken and he warmly said they were open. In no time we struck up a conversation. I told him that my wife and I were Air Force parents and off to see our son graduate from boot camp. He told me that he was off to San Antonio to test for a job.

Daniel is a 23-year-old firefighter from Merced County and is expecting to lose his job within the month. He learned that San Antonio is hiring 100 new firefighters and with the prospects of losing his Merced job, would love to be hired in Texas. It turns out that over 4,000 applied for those 100 positions.

In the next two hours, Daniel and I struck up a conversation about politics, family, society and religion. I learned that Daniel, a newlywed with no children, has looked everywhere in the Valley for a firefighter position. There are none.

The economy of Texas is doing quite nicely. In fact, Texas has the hottest economies of all 50 states. Texas is the place to go if you want to get a job. Forbes magazine noted recently that four of the top five "best big cities for jobs" are in Texas - Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas. And of all new American businesses formed in 2009, Texas attracted over half, 52 percent to be exact.

The economy of California is in shambles. In fact, California has lost 600,000 manufacturing jobs since 2000. What gives? Why the disparity?

According to Texas Gov. Rick Perry the reason Texas is doing well is relatively simple. Texas has created a business friendly environment. He said on CNBC: "It's the compilation of four really simple principles: Don't spend all the money. Have a Legislature that understands that the private sector is where the jobs are created. Government doesn't create any jobs. We create an environment where private sector types can. Have a regulatory climate that is fair and predictable. A legal system that does not allow for over-suing. And have an accountable public school system that says to those that want to expand or come to your state that there's a skilled work force here."

Consider that Texas has no state income taxes and a state Legislature that meets only 90 days every two years.

Texas and California have some similarities. California is the most populous state with Texas in second place. Both have state populations that are about a third Latino. But the similarities drop off when you look at the politics of each state. While there are conservative areas of the state - like our Central Valley - the state has been governed by big government advocates sent to Sacramento by the liberal voters in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area.

A detriment to business, Democrats in Sacramento are fully entrenched in the interests of the public employee unions. The union influence is what has led state lawmakers to protect jobs of state workers at the expense of state budgets passed not on time and seriously unbalanced. The state Legislature simply does not want to make the spending cuts in the state labor force. We still do not have a state budget, which was due on June 30, and the state is staring at a $26 billion deficit. By contrast, public employee unions are weak or nonexistent.

The attitude of the state toward business and industry is not friendly. Regulation and taxes are excessive. Why wouldn't a company pull up its stakes and move to a business friendly state like Texas?

Led by dysfunctional leaders, the Golden State's luster is gone. People are leaving the state. Jobs are leaving the state for states like Texas and Idaho.

The election on Nov. 2 is of utmost importance to California. Ask yourself before you elect a new governor who is talking more about creating jobs and streamlining regulation. Ask yourself which gubernatorial candidate would actually push for tax cuts, such as eliminating the sales tax charged on manufacturing equipment, to spur the economy. Ask yourself who has had experience running multiple corporations and which one has had a lifelong career in government. Ask yourself which one would take a crack at breaking the self-serving unions that are running up state costs and which one is being backed by the unions and their war chests.

If you ask me, the former head of eBay has a lot more business acumen than a politician who was against Proposition 13 when it first went to the voters.

How do you feel? Let Jeff by e-mailing him at