Sacramento Report: 5 Issues to Watch

California State CapitalThere’s no question that the Bay Area and California face significant challenges, from high housing costs to an economic recovery that has left far too many individuals and families behind. The New York Times this month even asked whether California “has run up against the limits of nature” with nearly 40 million people struggling with the drought.

Yes, we face many challenges in the Golden State. But it’s not enough to hope for solutions. It’s time to take action.

The Chamber of Commerce last week led a delegation of San Francisco business and civic leaders to Sacramento to meet with local legislators and key members of Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration. We met with Assemblymembers David Chiu, Phil Ting and Rich Gordon, Senator Mark Leno, Senate President pro Tem Kevin De Leon, and Treasurer John Chiang, as well as top officials in transportation and workforce training.

Our goal was and continues to be ensuring that San Francisco’s voice is heard at the state Capitol. Here are the five big issues your Chamber is tackling in 2015:

Transportation

A robust and efficient transportation network is vital to ensuring livable communities, productive commerce and a clean environment. The Chamber supports major local and regional infrastructure investment projects including High-Speed Rail, the Central Subway extension and Caltrain electrification.

Our state policy objectives include:

  • Supporting legislation that rewards municipalities that meet regional transportation and housing goals and implement sustainable practices such as building transit-oriented development.
  • Ensuring that all high-speed rail investment projects are fully compatible with bringing service to the Transbay Terminal.
  • Supporting safety policies that reduce injuries and deaths in all modes of transportation.
  • Developing a sustainable source of funding for transportation projects.

Affordable Housing

It’s no surprise to anyone—residents or not—how expensive it is to live in San Francisco and the Bay Area. The Chamber is working to help ensure housing affordability for all residents.

Our state policy objectives include:

  • Supporting efforts to create tax and other financial incentives that provide affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents.
  • Supporting the ability of local governments to provide housing and integrated services for homeless and at-risk individuals.
  • Reforming the California Environmental Quality Act to expedite housing permitting.

 Jobs and the Economy

Sustained economic prosperity depends on a vibrant and resilient business climate. The Chamber is working to ensure a favorable environment in which all businesses can grow and prosper.

Our state policy objectives include:

  • Supporting legislative efforts to simplify and modernize the California Environmental Quality Act review process.
  • Supporting expanding the Earthquake Early Warning System.
  • Opposing a proposed mandate that certain employers post work schedules two weeks in advance and face financial penalties for schedule changes.

Water

The Chamber is committed to supporting smart policy and practices so that California and the Bay Area have the resources needed to supply residents, businesses, agriculture and wildlife with clean, safe water and a reliable and sustainable delivery system.

Our state policy objectives include:

  • Supporting strategies that will help conserve water and diversify our water supply.
  • Protecting San Francisco’s water rights.
  • Reducing cumbersome regulatory controls.

Education

Education and skills are the keys to both individual prosperity and economic vitality. The Chamber supports workforce development initiatives that help prepare the 21st century workforce to learn and thrive in San Francisco, cultivating a pipeline of future talent designed to drive the economy forward.

Our state policy objectives include:

  • Opposing policies that cut Cal Grants, which create pathways of opportunity.
  • Supporting funding for computer literacy training so disadvantaged students can use new technologies.
  • Supporting legislative actions that augment the state’s current budget for higher education.

We invite you to read our full 2015 Agenda for Sustained Prosperity. We believe that through smart policies and a spirit of cooperation, we can not only overcome our challenges, but thrive.