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California, sadly, not business-friendly

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In 1980 I quit my job at Hewlett-Packard as a software engineer and started a small business in San Jose, which our two oldest sons took over in 2005. I became semi-retired and moved to beautiful Auburn so I would not be tempted to visit the office frequently. Our sons promptly moved the office to Elk Grove and last year they moved into a new building in Rocklin. We provide certain services for other small businesses, including several here in Auburn. The nature of our business has resulted in friendship with hundreds of small business owners. Based on my experience, it is clear that California is not a business-friendly state and, unfortunately, our nation seems headed in that same direction. You ask why I think this is the case. I will try to give a short answer, again based on my experience with small businesses. All taxes paid by a business must be passed on in the price charged for the product or service. To remain in business your prices must be competitive. California’s taxes on business make it difficult to remain competitive. While taxes are bad enough, perhaps worse are the regulations. It is a struggle for the small business person to keep up with all of the new laws. And, it’s not just compliance. The paperwork is often overwhelming. If you are to succeed as a small business person, you must work harder than you ever worked when you were an employee and you must remain focused on the needs of your customers. The blizzard of crazy regulations coming from every level of government in California is a major distraction. Probably the most damaging factor is the attitude of those who populate the political party currently in power. Their actions, and now even their words, make it clear that they consider business to be the enemy. Unless, of course, you happen to be in a business they currently like, such as anything “green.” These factors each contribute to an uncertain future for those trying to run a business in California. Without doubt, this uncertainty will continue to cause some to flee to states where they feel more welcome. Others of us will stick around and figure out a way to survive and perhaps even prosper, in spite of the difficulties. Hey, we like the weather. A little more rain would be nice. Unfortunately, all of this means fewer job opportunities in the Golden State for those who are not prepared. By the way, if you cannot face the truth, but would rather believe in economic fantasies which may seem more comfortable, then for you it is likely that prosperity will always be elusive. Grant Shaw, Auburn