Rather than protecting small businesses and neighborhoods, SB 469 could significantly harm them.
By Julian Canete | NORTH COUNTY TIMES
SACRAMENTO, CA -- At the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, we are proud to be the voice of small business in California. We represent more than 700,000 Hispanic business owners all across the state that employ countless Californians in good, quality jobs.
We know building a new store is more than just bricks and mortar; it's people and jobs. Every time a new store or a new shopping center is created, a ripple is created: people are hired to work the stores, sales are made, money is exchanged, the economy grows and tax revenue flows.
Building new stores is a win-win for everyone: for people looking for jobs and for state officials looking for new revenue.
That's why we're so disappointed in Senate Bill 469 by state Sen. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego. This bill, which requires municipalities to do economic impact reports before approving the construction or conversion of a "superstore", undoubtedly was written with good intentions but it will have negative consequences across the state. Rather than protecting small businesses and neighborhoods, it could significantly harm them.
The basic problem with this law is its unintended consequences. Rather than protecting small businesses, it would make it even more difficult for any business from constructing a building over a certain size. But attacking large retailers hurts everyone. Our market system works best when businesses compete for employees and customers.
But beyond that, this bill sends the wrong message at the wrong time. Right now in California, we are experiencing an unprecedented economic downturn. We are confronted with a high unemployment rate. And with so many people unemployed, it's no wonder our state is also facing a huge decline in revenue. We need legislation in Sacramento that will encourage economic development not harm it.
Since the construction of new businesses and new buildings is largely a local issue, why would we want to add yet another state mandate that adds another layer of bureaucracy to local governments? Why would we want to make it more difficult for them to bring new businesses into their communities?
And finally, this issue ultimately comes down to choice. Shouldn't consumers be able to decide where they want to shop? Aren't they capable of making good decisions? Unfortunately, this proposed legislation would limit their options.
At the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, we believe that the only way to fight our way out of this economic downturn is to do everything possible to create new jobs and new growth. We know that anytime a store is built anywhere in California, bringing with it hundreds of new jobs, we are that much closer to ending this recession.
We urge the legislators in Sacramento to work with businesses, not against them. We can have reasonable disagreements about tax policy or fiscal policy. But surely we can all agree that creating new jobs in California is a major priority.
That's our policy and we urge everyone in the legislature to join with us as we create a better economy and a brighter future for our state.
Julian Canete is president of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, based in Sacramento.