How we live and work is inextricably tied to the health of our economy. So, it’s no surprise that jobs and the economy always rank at the top of priorities for Californians from all walks of life. Unfortunately, the state of our economy over the past few decades has seen a rapid rise in rents and cost of living while wages stagnate and income inequality balloons out of control. California is ranked 8th in the country in income inequality, and we see the impact of that every day in Chico and in the rest of district 3. It’s time all Californians paid their fair share so that we all have equal opportunity and access to contribute to the open economy we all enjoy.
It is imperative that the state refocus on helping small businesses to flourish, from startups and mom & pop shops to independent retail stores and restaurants. Better loan terms, less red-tape and fees, and clearer regulations can vastly improve the success rate of many small businesses.
We must institute firm rules on equal pay for equal work. It is a travesty that in 2018 females still earn less than their male peers who work the same job by simple virtue of their sex. This must end now.
It’s time we joined the rest of the developed world in providing paid family and medical leave. Californians and businesses agree that a state-funded program will alleviate the administrative burden from companies while offering workers the protection they deserve. I propose a policy of a total of one year leave at 55% of wages where both parents can split the time off between themselves as they choose. Any additional compensation that employers provide separately would be tax deductible as an incentive.
Let’s make this clear once and for all: discrimination based on sex, color, race, creed or orientation is never acceptable. These rights should be protected and codified under the law so that no one ever must face workplace discrimination, which drains our people and our talented labor force from the diversity we need to thrive.