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Chevron CEO: California is a Hostile Work Environment for Business

Writing in the Sacramento Bee, John Watson, CEO of Chevron, takes California to task for creating and perpetuating a declining business climate:

As the CEO of one of California’s largest and oldest companies, I’m a believer in this state. I’m also a fourth-generation resident of California, so I have seen our state at its very best – as a magnet to attract and retain investors. For anyone in search of opportunity, a good job and a great way of life, this was the place to be.

Yet for the first time, more people and businesses are now leaving California than moving here. Eighty-four percent of business owners say they wouldn’t locate in California if they weren’t here already. Californians pay some of the highest tax rates in America, yet somehow the state remains in a chronic fiscal crisis. In order to return California to prosperity, we need to seriously address some very difficult issues.

When a state is in the shape we’re in, we can’t blame it all on the global economic situation. A significant part of the problem is the result of decisions we’ve made right here in California over the years. Whether it is the state’s debt levels, the budget deficit or unfunded public pension obligations, the numbers tell the story. Nothing is less partisan than arithmetic. Setting the state’s books in order requires tough questions, and to their credit, Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature are willing to ask them. In fact, they have approved some significant budget cuts already.

Unfortunately, we still hear calls for higher taxes – even though California’s total tax rate is among the highest in the country. Insisting on more revenue only evades a destructive spending problem that is all too apparent. Extending temporary tax increases may be necessary to bridge a short-term gap, but they’re only temporary, stop-gap measures – not a permanent solution.

Read the whole thing, it is devastating.

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