We commend Gov. Jerry Brown for proposing a balanced budget with a sensible reserve for California. However, he noted that the budget is precariously balanced. He also mentioned that while we grew 1.3 million new jobs since the recession, our declining wage levels are still a concern in California.
Like the Governor, we believe the best way to address both problems is to grow tax revenues with an expanding economy. High wage jobs in manufacturing should be a high priority for the state.
We are encouraged that this budget does not propose higher taxes, but increased energy costs for manufacturers due to ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals could have the same damaging effect on economic growth. The vibrancy of our economy is critical to reaching our environmental goals, however our already highest-in-the-nation electricity rates hamper our ability to attract new manufacturing investment.
The Governor’s $1.2 billion allotment for workforce development is an important start for manufacturers who are struggling to find workers with proper skills who can hit the ground running. We are pleased with the inclusion of $250 million this year for career technical education programs in our schools. These proposals signal that California is refocused on skills training for our future workforce.
There is lots of work to be done but this proposal builds on California’s prudent 2014 budget. We look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to restoring California’s manufacturing economy, meeting our environmental goals and providing for our future.