Jack Sieglock wants to roll back the red tape and roll out the red carpet for businesses in California. The native Lodian and former Lodi mayor, City Council member and county supervisor said it's inexcusable that the state has a higher unemployment rate than the national average. He wants voters to give him a chance to fix it in November in his bid for the Assembly District 10 seat.
"I talk with business leaders who would love to expand in California, but won't because of our business climate," he said.
The owner of Sieglock Communications, a consulting firm, pointed to examples of native Californian businesses, such as San Jose-based Adobe, looking to move part of its operations to states such as Utah because there are fewer regulations than in California. One regulation Sieglock wants to temporarily suspend is Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, because he said many companies are fearful of the negative impacts it may have on them. He supports Proposition 23, which would suspend air pollution control laws, until the state's unemployment rate drops below 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters.
The answers to some of California's financial woes lie in tax credits and incentives for businesses, he said. Sieglock favors enterprise zones, which give employers credits for setting up shop in designated areas or hiring workers from certain regions.
He also wants to spur businesses to be environmentally efficient by rewarding them with tax credits when they meet state requirements.
"We're adopting extraordinary regulations," he said. "Businesses should be able to use tax credits whenever they can."
He believes lawmakers should not get paid or collect a per diem when a budget is late, and that all other legislation should require a supermajority to pass during the time in which a budget is late.
Although a Republican, Sieglock said he would work to put aside partisanship if Democratic candidate Jerry Brown is elected governor.
He worked with Democrats while on the county Board of Supervisors, he said, and learned how to accomplish objectives while working with the opposition. One of his proudest achievements on the bi-partisan board was helping merge the Delta Fire Protection District with Woodbridge Fire in 2003. It helped provide better fire protection to rural parts of the county, he said.
Although he is endorsed by Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, who supports a peripheral canal, Sieglock said he would fight against the water conveyance system if elected, no matter who became governor.
"We have to stay strong mentally and have the thought that we can stop the canal," he said.
He also expects to see litigation in response to reduced water quality to possibly come up if attempts at building a canal are made.
"What you will find out long-term is that the conflict will derail their attempts to build a canal," he said.
To help address the state's water issues, Sieglock supports more water storage projects in the county. As a former chair of the Groundwater Banking Authority, he said he understands what it takes to secure money from the state and federal government to conduct studies and fund projects. "Water takes time," he said. "You have to be devoted to it and spend time in that arena."
As a county supervisor, Sieglock was part of a bipartisan coalition that obtained $1 million in federal funding in 2004 for Stockton East Water District's Farmington Groundwater Recharge Program. The program helps recharge the area's groundwater basin and aims to reduce the risk of saltwater intrusion.
Sieglock has been criticized for voting to give himself a raise as a member of the county board of supervisors in 1999. In 2002, he also voted to automatically raise the pay for supervisors as the salaries for county management positions also rose.
He served as a supervisor from 1999 to January 2007, and salaries for supervisors during that time rose 45 percent; from $49,227 to $71,489.
The pay was raised to a similar level as Sacramento, Contra Costa and Alameda counties, he said, and it's a non-issue brought up by his opponent, incumbent Alyson Huber, D-El Dorado Hills, to distract voters. His average salary during his eight years as a county supervisor was $60,000, he said.
"She wants to divert from the real issues; that the state government is out of control," he said.
He also voted to change the city of Lodi's formula for business license fees in 1995. Sieglock defended the decision by saying it was due to big-box stores like Walmart and Target coming to town and needing more attention and service. The adjusted formula actually helped some businesses, he said.
"In some cases, the fees went down for some businesses," he said.
To Sieglock, the biggest concern is stimulating the state's economy and reducing unemployment. If elected, he will fight to attract businesses to California and retain the ones already here.
"We live in such a beautiful state, there is no excuse for why our unemployment rate is higher than the nation's," he said.
Contact reporter Jordan Guinn at firstname.lastname@example.org.