Golden Together Releases New White Paper on Transforming California’s Business Climate

Steve Hilton on the West Steps of the California State Capitol during his press conference on March 26 announcing the Achieving Universal Housing Affordability policy paper, photo credit: Golden Together

Special to the Vanguard

Sacramento – Golden Together, a 501(c)(4) dedicated to revitalizing the California Dream led by author and government policy advisor Steve Hilton, today released its latest white paper that outlines a detailed plan to overhaul California’s business environment, which has been rated the worst in the nation by Chief Executive magazine every year for the last decade.

Click here to view the paper titled “From Worst to Best: Transforming California’s Business Climate”

This new report comes on the heels of troubling economic indicators; as of March 2024, California leads the nation in unemployment and poverty rates, with notably the lowest job and income growth. The state’s budget deficits continue to balloon, reflecting systemic issues that have pushed over 500 companies to relocate or expand operations beyond California since 2020.

“California once epitomized the American dream, but its glory days of nearly 4% growth in the late 20th century have dwindled to just over 2% in the recent decades,” said the paper’s policy advisor and lead author. “The challenges we face are not insurmountable. They are the direct consequences of specific regulatory, labor, and tax policies that can—and must—be revised.”

Businesses in California are under siege. Despite all its advantages; great universities, great weather and scenic beauty, the world’s 5th largest economy, and diverse industries including leading-edge technology companies, California is consistently ranked as the worst state in America to run a business.

“The focus of this paper is to identify the events and specific legislation that have created in California the worst business climate in America, and to suggest ways to put our state in the number one position versus the last,” said Hilton. “There is an inspiring opportunity here: by improving the business climate in California, more companies will compete to offer goods and services, lowering the cost of living and the cost of doing business at the same time as creating millions of new jobs and driving forward innovation that makes life better here and around the world. Making California the best place in America to start and run a business will make a major contribution to restoring the California Dream of entrepreneurship and upward mobility.”

The paper details 45 specific policy reforms aimed at cutting red tape, reducing bureaucracy, and simplifying the state’s tax system. These reforms are critical to restoring a thriving business climate that can support job creation, economic growth, and improved quality of life for all Californians.

Key strategies include:

  • Overhauling labor, environmental, and tax regulations to foster business growth and competitiveness.
  • Reducing the size and complexity of the state government by streamlining over 200 agencies that currently employ more than 250,000 bureaucrats.
  • Addressing and capping the rise in General Fund spending which has outpaced population growth significantly.
  • Review the functions and authority of the Coastal Commission to restore focus on environmental protection, reversing its damaging “mission creep” and returning responsibilities to counties.
  • Establish an independent review of the entire 29 sections of the existing State Legislative Code, with the default assumption or priority that all regulations affecting business in the State of California will sunset unless reviewed and reaffirmed.
  • Require all existing and new regulations to expire periodically.
  • Establish a review of regulatory best practices, both in other states and around the world. Consider in particular recent successful reforms in the State of Pennsylvania implemented by Gov. Josh Shapiro.

Golden Together plans to continue this series with monthly reports offering substantive analysis and practical solutions to address California’s pressing challenges.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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2 Comments

  1. Walter Shwe

    Golden Together appears to be just the latest attempt by conservatives to decapitate State Government under the thinly-veiled guise of building more affordable housing and attempting to bolster California’s business climate. There is nothing wrong with California’s economy and business climate. “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” Therefore Golden Together is a right wing joke.

    Overall, in the calendar year 2023, the United States’ Nominal GDP at Current Prices totaled at $27.360 trillion, as compared to $25.744 trillion in 2022.

    The three U.S. states with the highest GDPs were California ($3.8 trillion), Texas ($2.56 trillion), and New York ($2.15 trillion).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_and_territories_by_GDP#:~:text=Overall%2C%20in%20the%20calendar%20year,New%20York%20(%242.15%20trillion).

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