Next Test for California: Fixing Business Climate ; Reforms to the Controversial Workers' Compensation Laws Constitute Schwarzenegger's Next Major Challenge

By Mark Sappenfield writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, April 15, 2004 | Go to article overview

Next Test for California: Fixing Business Climate ; Reforms to the Controversial Workers' Compensation Laws Constitute Schwarzenegger's Next Major Challenge


Mark Sappenfield writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


When John Lawrence says his business is thriving, it is not a profession of pride. It is a statement of defiance. The way Mr. Lawrence sees it, his manufacturing firm has been under siege the past few years - not so much from an indecisive economy or overseas competition, but from the state of California itself.

Unemployment insurance rates are doubling. The minimum wage has increased. New rules have expanded overtime. And payments to the $20 billion workers' compensation system have spiraled beyond all reason.

Now, as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger nears a deal to reform the system, business owners like Lawrence are watching. It is the first test of whether the governor can change California's business climate and stand up to what he called "Sacramento's job-killing philosophy."

Yet the debate over an arcane California program hints at much more, even the future of the American workplace. In recent years, California passed an unprecedented suite of worker-friendly bills, from employer-paid healthcare to the broadest paid family-leave program in the US.

To some, it is a path that can only hurt California, as businesses increasingly take their jobs to other states and California lags behind the US in job creation. To others, though, the Golden State is at the forefront of a shift in workplace values. Where California ends up on workers' comp, both agree, will provide insight into which way Schwarzenegger's California will lead.

"The pendulum had swung far to the left," says Jack Kyser of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation. "Now it is swinging back toward the center."

On workers' compensation, both sides of the political spectrum acknowledge the need for reform - a change that could come soon, according to some reports, with "a fair to strong" possibility that the Assembly and Senate would see legislation as early as Thursday. California's system of compensating workers for job-related injuries is widely criticized as the worst in the nation. It demands the highest premiums of employers and pays some of the lowest benefits to workers.

Fixing it "is a big deal," says Steven Levy of the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto, Calif. "Every other [workplace issue here] is sort of chump change by comparison."

Business owner Carmen Murray has seen her monthly premiums quadruple in the past year or so, even though her carpet mill sees relatively few injuries. If things haven't improved by the time her lease runs out in 2007, she'll likely move. "I'm giving it a lot of thought," says Ms. Murray, based in Los Angeles. "It's just getting worse."

The bottom line, she and other owners say, is that it is expensive to do business in California. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Next Test for California: Fixing Business Climate ; Reforms to the Controversial Workers' Compensation Laws Constitute Schwarzenegger's Next Major Challenge
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.