Bloomberg News

California Bill Would Scrutinize Economic Impact of Regulations

September 01, 2011

Sept. 1 (Bloomberg) -- New business regulations proposed in California would be reviewed for their effect on the economy of the most-populous state under a bill introduced by Democratic leaders who control the state Assembly and Senate.

Senate President Pro-tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez outlined the plan at a news conference with the presidents of the California Chamber of Commerce, the state’s largest business group, and the California Manufacturers and Technology Association.

California’s 12 percent unemployment rate in July was the second-highest in the U.S. behind Nevada, surpassing the national average of 9.1 percent, according to the U.S. Labor Department. Lawmakers have debated regulatory changes to boost economic recovery.

“We are here to put an end to the drumbeat that California is not friendly to business,” Steinberg said today. “This is a major step forward.”

The Democratic plan was unveiled a day after five Senate Republicans sent Steinberg a letter calling for “rigorous, standardized economic impact analysis” on bills to ease the state’s “burdensome regulatory system.”

The same five senators tried unsuccessfully earlier this year to broker a deal that would have allowed a referendum on higher taxes sought by Governor Jerry Brown in exchange for rollbacks in public pensions and environmental and business regulations.

Allan Zaremberg, president of the 15,000-member chamber of commerce, said the business organization is backing the Democrats’ proposals.

‘How to Count’

“I know how to count,” Zaremberg said, referring to the Democratic majorities in both chambers of the Legislature. “We need to speak with one voice. We need to be together on a solution.”

One of the Democrats’ proposals would require state agencies to review the potential economic impact of new regulations. Any measure not properly analyzed would be rejected, according to a statement from Steinberg’s office.

The bill wouldn’t scrutinize existing regulations. Steinberg told reporters that current rules already were subject to a “significant implementation process” and that a retroactive review would be too time-consuming.

--Editors: Pete Young, Mark Tannenbaum

To contact the reporter on this story: James Nash in Sacramento at Jnash24@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net


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