The Santa Clarita Valley business community had the opportunity to discuss pressing issues with Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita recently during the SCV Chamber of Commerce’s third annual Congressional Forum.
Garcia began by discussing some of what he considers the nation’s biggest threats, which include both China and Russia, both of which impact the U.S. economy, whether by inflationary rates or cyberattacks.
Additionally, Garcia touched on tax rates, noting that California has the sixth-largest economy in the world in terms of its gross state product. However, he said, its business-friendly environment has begun to erode due to increases in tax rates, as other states create lower tax structures that incentivize small businesses to grow, which he said is another big threat to the state specifically.
“The way you stimulate growth, the way you grow and create jobs, create wealth for families and the workers and their kids, is to encourage businesses to open, to stay here in California, to grow, to invest in their company, to create new products that, in turn, require more hiring and creates more jobs, and that’s how we grow,” Garcia said.
However, Garcia went on to say that the single biggest threat to the nation is its debt, which is at more than $28 trillion, which is why he has sponsored the balanced budget amendment.
“(It would) require Congress to pass a budget that is commensurate with the gross revenue that they bring in through the federal tax system,” Garcia said. “You can’t spend more than you make — the novel idea. As business owners, you guys do this every day. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be in business.”
Garcia later added that a lot of the impact on businesses, and what we saw as the fallout of the pandemic, was the result of government decisions and that while the federal government has funded trillions of dollars in COVID-19 relief measures, their work is not yet done, in terms of helping businesses to get back on their feet.
“We’ve done a good job of putting money into the market, the cash and liquidity is there, the lifelines were there, the bridges were built for small businesses, and now we need to look at a very, very micro perspective on which industries need the help the most,” Garcia added. “So rather than using a shotgun approach from a federal government program perspective, we need to be very high-fidelity, high-resolution in the certain industries where the help is needed.”
Garcia said he feels as though it’s the federal government’s job right now to enable the states and the local counties and cities to help their own local businesses.
“We need to create an environment that allows for growth, and to be honest, I think that’s the best thing we can do right now from the federal government perspective,” Garcia added.
Much like his perspective on the pandemic, Garcia went on to discuss infrastructure and how it’s a shared responsibility between federal and state municipalities.
“The reality is a lot of these programs and projects that we see in California, that we need still in California, are too big for the state to manage and fund, so we do need federal assistance for certain major improvements,” Garcia said.
Additionally, Garcia said the best way to help the local economy is to enable its growth so more jobs can be created locally.