Other voices: Keep small-business engine running: Vote Yes on Prop 23 | TheUnion.com

Other voices: Keep small-business engine running: Vote Yes on Prop 23

If one of the cylinders in our car goes bad, the engine could stop, putting the essential part of what keeps it running in jeopardy. No one wants to see our small-business engine, the No. 1 job creator in our state, damaged either.

By voting Yes on Proposition 23, small businesses and the working families and communities they support will have a fighting chance to survive.

In Nevada County and elsewhere, small businesses are the backbone of the economy and a vast source of job creation – the skilled and entry level jobs California needs so desperately right now.

But small business employers can’t even keep jobs, let alone create them, if they’re burdened with costly government regulations like the state’s global warming law (AB 32). Proposition 23 does not weaken or repeal AB 32, but it does temporarily postpone its implementation, saving more than a million jobs statewide that would otherwise be at risk as employers face higher energy bills and other costs of complying with the new law.

The economic problems in California today are clear.

In August alone, over 33,000 additional Californians lost their jobs, bringing the total number of people out of work here to more than 2.2 million. Nearly one million of the unemployed have been jobless for more than six months. In Nevada County alone, 5,790 people are unemployed, a five percent increase from just a year ago.

We can’t afford to lose even one more job. The National Federation of Independent Businesses strongly supports Proposition 23 because it will protect employers from having to choose between paying the cost of compliance with the global warming law and keeping loyal employees on the payroll.

While the goals of the law are admirable, the cost of achieving them is unrealistically high for Main Street businesses, which will be hit especially hard by these new regulations. By some estimates, compliance could cost small businesses an average of $50,000 per year.

Make no mistake: Small businesses and other supporters of Proposition 23 do support doing something about global warming in a responsible and meaningful way. We simply recognize that the economic climate has changed substantially since the law was adopted and believe the timetable for implementing it needs to be adjusted accordingly. That’s what other states and countries are prudently doing to protect their economies.

The fact is, 43 percent of small businesses in California are adopting energy conservation measures on their own, not only because they care about the environment but because their concerns over higher energy costs are second only to their concerns about healthcare costs. In true entrepreneurial spirit, they’re independently seeking the most cost-effective practices to run their businesses while remaining committed to environmental responsibility. This approach enables small businesses to do what works best for them and for the environment, without burdening them with the excessive costs of one-size-fits-all state mandates that will hit them at the very worst possible time.

Prop. 23 will put the brakes on those runaway energy costs and protect the region’s small businesses until they have had an opportunity to rebound from the slumping economy.

Nevada County’s restaurants and tourist attractions, technology, construction, health and senior services, farming, and other businesses can’t afford to lose any more jobs, and the county’s communities can’t afford to lose the revenues those businesses and jobs provide. Yes on 23 will help keep that economic engine going.

John Kabateck is executive director of National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)/CA.

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