Brown Wants New Anti-Business Agency

JAN. 11, 2012


California lost about five and a half companies a week to other states in 2011, as the mass migration to avoid California’s hostile business environment grew.  You would think a governor who is hungry for tax revenue — and California has one of the highest corporate tax rates in America — would do something to slow the tide, but Jerry Brown’s new budget proposal tells another story.

First, bureaucracies like the California Air Resources Board that are highly efficient in throttling businesses have nothing to fear in the new budget. Brown is all-in on CARB’s anti-global warming campaign, as AB 32 implementation is unscathed in the budget.  Brown is not thinking about the war on greenhouse gases’ expected $180-billion-a year hit on the California economy; rather, he’s focused on the $1 billion in new 2012-2013 tax revenues he anticipates collecting under the state’s new cap and trade law.

But that’s just the tip of the supposedly rapidly melting iceberg.  Tucked away in the “making government more efficient” section of the budget is a proposed new anti-business government bureaucracy, the Business and Consumer Services Agency, that should speed up the flight of employers from California.


Under Brown’s proposal, the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing and a handful of business licensing and inspection departments will be merged to form the new agency.  Fair enough.  Maybe they will be able to find some efficiencies.  But the red flag for business owners is this:  Into this amalgamation of bureaucracies that fundamentally see business as the enemy, Brown is dropping “the newly restructured Department of Business Oversight.”

Scan the list of 380 state agencies and you’ll find no Department of Business Oversight, so it appears this isn’t a case of restructuring an existing agency, but of creating an entirely new one.  California’s already excessive amount of business oversight is one primary reason why CEO Magazine listed California as the worst state for business for the last four years in a row.  Creating a new department tasked to impose yet more controls on business, and placing that department in an environment that’s already steamy with anti-business hubris, will only make things worse.

How anti-business are the foundational agencies of the new Business and Consumer Services Agency?

The Department of Consumer Affairs has 40 different regulatory entities like the Professional Fiduciaries Bureau, the Telephone Medical Advice Services Bureau and the Hearing Aid Dispensers Bureau, each responsible for regulating a segment of the California economy.  Under a two-year initiative to increase the oversight it imposes, the department is seeking to quadruple the number of investigators on its staff and to add a new Deputy Director for Enforcement and Compliance.

The Department of Fair Employment and Housing opens about 4,000 new cases a month where a business, landlord or lender is charged with discrimination — 195,000 cases in total in 2010.  If a complaint goes forward, the department’s attorneys represent the complainant at no charge, and the average settlement against businesses, once charges are filed, is $40,000.

New Parasites

Certainly, there are scoundrels out there, along with bigots and guys who don’t know where to keep their eyes, hands or comments, and any state needs agencies to corral them.  But Brown appears to be up to much more with his new super-agency.  This new agency would assuredly go well beyond that charter, creating new opportunities for the attorneys that feed off of California businesses — attorneys who gave well over $1 million to Brown’s election campaign in 2010.

If California had a pro-business governor, his budget would have proposed a new pro-business department.  That we have instead a new Department of Business Oversight in a new Business and Consumer Services Agency tells us a lot about the kind of governor — and the kind of state — we have.

Laer Pearce, a veteran of three decades of California public affairs, is completing a book on California’s impending collapse, “Crazifornia: Tales from the Tarnished State.”




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  1. David H
    David H 11 January, 2012, 19:39

    Jerry the Jesuit, you don’t have to look any farther than what their agenda is.

    Reply this comment
  2. Jay Guevara
    Jay Guevara 11 January, 2012, 20:30

    “the red flag”

    Shouldn’t that be “the Red flag?”

    Reply this comment
  3. Alexander
    Alexander 11 January, 2012, 20:32

    Speaking as a Floridian I couldn’t be happier, anything that causes the dramatic implosion of California to come faster is only a good thing.

    Reply this comment
  4. RIck Perry
    RIck Perry 11 January, 2012, 20:54

    You’re doing a heck of a job Jerry; keep it up.

    Reply this comment
  5. amenjohnson
    amenjohnson 11 January, 2012, 22:24

    There is no way to stop the train wreck. The inmates are driving the train. Just get as far away as possible from the train that is bound for glory.

    Reply this comment
  6. Blacque Jacques Shellacque
    Blacque Jacques Shellacque 11 January, 2012, 23:11

    And to think, the idiot California voters put this pathetic piece of crap retread BACK into the governor’s office.

    Reply this comment
  7. Jones
    Jones 11 January, 2012, 23:27

    californians deserve their certain doom- they voted for it

    Reply this comment
  8. gladileft
    gladileft 11 January, 2012, 23:40

    As Michael Novak said right after Brown’s election, “The difference between the Titanic and the state of California is the passengers on the Titanic didn’t vote to run into the iceberg.”

    Reply this comment
  9. davisbr
    davisbr 12 January, 2012, 01:03

    …best to just get out while the gettin’s good

    I did.

    Reply this comment
  10. Blue Collar Todd
    Blue Collar Todd 12 January, 2012, 01:22

    I guess those trips to Texas to learn about how to create jobs were useless.

    The only jobs Democrats seem to be able to create, or want to create, are within the government.

    Reply this comment
  11. Rebecca Cleland
    Rebecca Cleland 12 January, 2012, 02:31

    fear other states may have to bail out California under the Obama rule (Greece)

    Reply this comment
  12. Mark in Texas
    Mark in Texas 12 January, 2012, 02:48

    This new agency sounds reminiscent of India’s Industrial Raj that regulated and second guessed every business in India from Independence until the early 1990s.

    After India abolished the Industrial Raj, its GDP has grown by 5% to 10% every year compared to the anemic growth of 1% to 2% it used to see in the highly regulated days.

    Reply this comment
  13. Mike
    Mike 12 January, 2012, 02:57

    Well, I do feel sorry for the sane citizens of California but I’m so tired of watching and listening to the politics of the place, not to mention the national politicians that come out of it. And the nonsense we’re subjected to from the I-don’t-understand-why-we-give-them-millions-celebrities…..

    Go ahead. Burn it down.

    Reply this comment
  14. egoist
    egoist 12 January, 2012, 03:33

    Bureaucracy breeds bureaucracy breeds bureaucracy. You cannot undo this stuff, there’s a one-way valve on these humans. The time to stop this [all of it] was many decades ago. I expect that – no matter who wins the WH / Senate / Congress – 5 years from now, our government will have drastically expanded.

    Reply this comment
  15. kyleb
    kyleb 12 January, 2012, 04:28

    As a Californian all I ask is when this state starts begging for bailouts DON’T DO IT. The Democrats would love nothing more than for small business owners busting their @ss in red states to pay for the bloated public union pensions in blue states. The injustice of wealth transfer from 60 year old red staters making 60k to public pensions blue staters who retired at 50 at 120k is right around the corner. California has to go down hard if this leftist cancer is ever to be purged.

    Just remember this state is huge. I’m down here in conservative San Diego and we have NOTHING to do with the idiot liberals who rule over us in Sacramento. We’d split the state if we could. Just think of all the conservative electoral votes that are wasted. My vote hasn’t mattered in a presidential election in my entire life.

    Reply this comment
  16. Dave in Houston
    Dave in Houston 12 January, 2012, 06:10

    To all of the business owners in California, a big howdy from Texas. We are as business friendly as we can be. With all of our amenities, your only regret is that you didn’t move to Texas years ago.

    Reply this comment
  17. MarkJ
    MarkJ 12 January, 2012, 07:12

    I’d normally say, “Will the last person leaving California please turn off the lights?” However, we all know even the power companies will have fled the Golden State long before this happens.

    Reply this comment
  18. Dancquill
    Dancquill 12 January, 2012, 07:21

    I wonder if Brown and his super agency will begin monitoring social media as well for political reasons as well as fighting global warming and bureacratic divers reasons. Obama and company are monitoring social media, as well as collecting the names and phone numbers of known Republicans in order to scam and harrass and threaten? them at election time. Indefinite detention rules are now displacing the Constitutional protections, FEMA is setting up re-location camps in zones across the US… Its all coming together under Obama. The liberal media is silent about any and all of this as it is a Democrat doing it. We may want to remain extra vigilant until the King’s rule is over.

    Reply this comment
  19. Russ
    Russ 12 January, 2012, 08:02

    While I feel sorry for California residents who must suffer under this, the faster it happens, the better: the only way that the Dems are going to overcome this nonsense is for them to push it to the breaking point and see it fail spectacularly.

    Reply this comment
  20. Barb
    Barb 12 January, 2012, 08:39

    I say break up the state! Ironically, there are more GOP counties than Democrat but because the populations in LA & SF are so large that it always outnumbers everyone else because the Democrats own them. This is a problem!

    Reply this comment
  21. TTB
    TTB 12 January, 2012, 08:46

    “If California had a pro-business governor, his budget would have proposed a new pro-business department.”

    I have to disagree: If California had a pro-business governor, he would abolish some of those regulating departments and agencies, the regulations they inflict, and free their employees to find productive jobs in the profit-seeking sector.

    Establishing another bureaucracy is not pro-business: it simply establishes yet more bureaucracy for business to have to deal with, and needs yet more taxes to pay for it.

    Stop requiring business to quantify and justify their employee race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation ratios. Stop demanding that they conform to politicians’ demands of the day. Tell employees that if they dislike their employer, go find a new one. If a black owned company doesn’t want any Asian employees, fine: let them discriminate. Bigots have rights, too, and using the force of government to break them to your will is fundamentally anti-American. That’s right: fundamentally anti-American.

    Reply this comment
  22. willis
    willis 12 January, 2012, 08:53

    The citizens of Georgia will be contributing heavily to Jerry Brown’s next election campaign.

    Reply this comment
  23. queeg
    queeg 12 January, 2012, 09:48

    And guess what….no job losses contemplated…or minutely negligible….harumph!

    Reply this comment
  24. Hondo
    Hondo 12 January, 2012, 16:27

    Loose 180 billion in potential revenue to get 1 billion in taxes? These people have lost all touch with sanity.
    Greece just voted to give disability payments to pedophiles, while they are weeks away from total bankruptcy. I am beginning to think this is a real attempt to destroy the system by these liberals. And I’m not even a true conservative.
    No one can be this stupid.
    Can they?

    Reply this comment
  25. richard40
    richard40 12 January, 2012, 16:46

    You morons in CA voted for this guy. Now you are getting what you deserve, while the sensible remainder leave the state in droves. Unfortunately for CA, the ones that are leaving include the only people that are actually productive.

    Its a real pity, because back when CA was a conservative state, when Reagan was governor, they were one of the most prosperous, best run, and most forward looking states in the nation. It just goes to show how quickly leftist government can ruin even the most prosperous areas.

    Of course if Obama stays in for another term, the whole country will become like CA.

    Reply this comment
  26. richard40
    richard40 12 January, 2012, 16:54

    I do have some sympathy for those in CA that do not live in San Francisco or LA, since many of them are decent people, and are being dragged down by the leftist parasites in these big cities. Its a pity that the conservative regions of CA cant find a way to secede and have their own state. At this stage, your only option left is to leave the state. But please, if you leave, do not bring your notions of leftist gov with you.

    Reply this comment
  27. spike humer
    spike humer 12 January, 2012, 23:18

    business for a start to one career until your have out grown the endless repetition of task, chat and small pay then your are ready to start your business or move up to a large corporation.

    Reply this comment
  28. William O. B'Livion
    William O. B'Livion 13 January, 2012, 05:50

    “Certainly, there are scoundrels out there, along with bigots and guys who don’t know where to keep their eyes, hands or comments, and any state needs agencies to corral them. ”

    Really? The State does?

    Maybe, *maybe* the state has some interest in the “hands” part. Maybe.

    But corralling guys who don’t know where to keep their eyes, how about we move all the guys who CAN to Rhode Island, and then give the ladies a choice on where to live. With a bunch of men with small dogs and guys with long white canes, or in the rest of the US with guys who are under the age of embalmment.

    Reply this comment
  29. stevefromsacto
    stevefromsacto 13 January, 2012, 10:28

    And when you end government regulation and turn a blind eye to abuses, here’s what happens:

    A new report by state regulators says PG&E has collected millions of dollars from ratepayers for improvements it never made. From Steve Johnson, Joshua Melvin and Paul Rogers in the Mercury News.

    “The report by the California Public Utility Commission’s safety division also disclosed that PG&E in recent years has collected more than a half billion dollars from ratepayers for system improvements that were never made or that exceeded the amount of money it was authorized to earn. That finding, from an audit, could make it harder for the utility to saddle its customers with 90 percent of the cost of its $2.2 billion pipeline-renovation plan, as it recently has proposed.”

    “Much of the report repeats previous findings by the National Transportation Safety Board and an expert panel the commission appointed to look into the accident, which killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes. But the disclosure about the audit sparked outrage among some elected officials.”

    “It is truly unconscionable that PG&E was allowed by the CPUC to steal ratepayer monies that should have been spent on safety and, instead, was put in the pockets of PG&E shareholders,” said Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough. “All these monies identified in the audit should be returned to ratepayers, presumably as a credit against the work that PG&E should have done, but didn’t.”

    Reply this comment
  30. pchas
    pchas 24 January, 2012, 16:17

    “But the red flag for business owners is this: Into this amalgamation of bureaucracies that fundamentally see business as the enemy, Brown is dropping ‘the newly restructured Department of Business Oversight.'”

    The Department of Business Oversight is nothing more than the amalgamation of the Department of Corporations and the Department of Financial Institutions. Since these agencies and their antecedents go back to the Board of Bank Commissioners which was founded in 1878, I don’t think you can call it a new bureaucracy. Go back to sleep.

    Reply this comment

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