Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Public officials engaging in the business community

100 Businesses in 100 Days

Congressman Rep. Mark Takano announced earlier this month that he will be touring “100 Businesses in 100 Days,” gathering input from the private sector within his 41st Congressional District. According the official press release, Takano will tour manufacturing, exports, retail, construction, high-tech, hospitality, food service, and more. His office will compile a report that will be used to direct future federal legislation to improve the marketplace economy.

The Transit Coalition has long advocated for officials and leaders to get out from behind their desks and engage the community, just as the Coalition does to prepare its transit-related campaigns. We take part in gauging passenger behavior, identifying needs, and providing solutions to real-life transit problems. Additionally, we meet face-to-face with the community and pitch our fact-based positions to top transportation officials. This is what our field studies and research is about.

Takano who represents a large portion of Riverside County's population kicked off his tour on August 14. From the south, his 41st District includes the Perris region, Moreno Valley, Riverside, and Jurupa Valley. As he continues gathering input from business leaders, finding ways to streamline federal regulations and working with the state and local jurisdictions to get rid of unnecessary legal red tape on their books will need to be a key component to future federal legislation. While those receiving unemployment benefits countywide has dropped from a peak of 15-20% three years ago and continues to go down, the rate still stands at 9.5%, and that does not factor in those who dropped out of the workforce altogether and became a dependent. The City of Riverside's rate stands at 9.7%, Jurupa Valley near 10%, Moreno Valley 11.1%, and Perris at 15%. It's clear there is work that needs to be done to get the private sector to invest in these regions with more full time jobs.

A call for action from Washington

From the national standpoint, one historic reason of why the United States has been such a robust country is because of its free marketplace economic system which promotes competition, motivation, and innovation which improves quality and lowers prices. Small business entrepreneurs and leaders need the assurance that public officials will do what is necessary to improve the economy without inducing urban sprawl, corporate corruption or pollution.

It's a fact that Washington should not inject more federal money into the private marketplace economy because the national debt is fast approaching $17 trillion. To be fair, the Treasury Department reported paying $35 billion toward the debt back in April, but according Brilling.com's U.S. National Debt Clock, the feds have spent an average of over $2 billion per day since September of last year. Vital programs such as defense, intelligence, public safety, public works capital and operations (which includes our highway and transit infrastructure), tax money oversight, and the government itself must remain, but the finances need to be policed better to get our federal budget out of the red.

All federal misspending must stop, especially with the bloated pensions. The special interests must concede and acknowledge the truth; the government cannot afford to pay public employees above marketplace wages, period. If the unions want higher wages and livable benefits, they need to follow Takano's lead, find out what needs to be done locally to improve the job market, and lobby for better economic conditions. That will get their workers the higher wages and full time hours.

With this and the government waste covered during the last two weeks on this blog, all of us will be negated if the misspending madness continues. Just look at the 91 Freeway and compare it with the 9.5% countywide unemployment rate. We don't want our state or country to go bankrupt.

Improving the marketplace economy for fully funded transit infrastructure

Last year, Congressman Rep. Mike Kelly hit the nail on the head with a possible solution to improve the national economy with this speech. For the record, we did not analyze the actual bill that was being debated back then--HR 4078: Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act--and therefore did not take a position, but Kelly's point is absolutely true.

While critical safeguards to prevent corporate corruption, combat urban sprawl and control pollution are necessary, over-regulating the private sector costs businesses huge amounts of money each year. That leads to higher prices and lower quality. In addition, companies are forced to scale back hiring and shift times to pay for the added costs. With the fewer jobs and resulting lackluster job market, those who have jobs will be paid less and work fewer hours.

How do the feds think they are going to get more high-paying full time private sector jobs if they continue to sack businesses with such red tape? How can the feds and local leaders of Takano's district entice business entrepreneurs into investing in downtown Riverside with robust marketplace job hubs? What is holding up the private capital from going into the downtown train station which would fully pay for an adjacent RTA bus transit station, a pedestrian bridge over the 91 Freeway into the downtown core, and direct access ramps the highway's carpool lanes? The feds know that the U.S. economy cannot thrive under excessive trivial regulations; that fact is taught today in high school social science.

On top of engaging the business community which is a great start, Rep. Takano should take his findings, work with colleagues on the other side of the aisle including Rep. Kelly, and craft a report and a bipartisan bill--without throwing any public money into the marketplace--which will lead the nation and the Inland Empire back into economic prosperity. That is how we can better fund the government and our transportation needs.

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