Commentary: Improving California's business climate

As far as the editors of Chief Executive magazine are concerned, California is beyond terrible. It's dead last among all 50 states for business climate. No one in his or her right mind would want to do business here.

The magazine, based in Greenwich, Conn., is not alone. Rankings by many supposedly reputable organizations place California at or close to the bottom in all manner of categories.

Business organizations and their allies in the Legislature wave them as they call for tax cuts, an end to suffocating regulation and curbs on nettlesome lawsuits.

The political left shrugs at these findings as the work of self-serving lobby groups. Often they are. An insurance industry-funded study that claims California is litigation-happy has no credibility. But when the Public Policy Institute of California offers a sober, nonpartisan and insightful analysis, policymakers ought to take notice.

In a report issued last month, the organization analyzed rankings by various groups and concludes that some raise legitimate points.

Some issues appear to correlate to economic growth, among them:

Spending a smaller share of tax dollars on welfare and income redistribution.

Creating a more uniform corporate tax structure. Heavy use of corporate tax credits and complexity of the tax structure increases costs and creates economic distortions that could impede growth.

To read the complete editorial, visit www.sacbee.com.