RE: AB 886 (Allen), the Job & Trade Competitiveness Act – SUPPORT
Dear Assemblymembers Bocanegra and Dahle:
We, the undersigned, a network of steward leaders representing all sectors (e.g., nonprofit, private, public, education, etc.) from California’s diverse economic regions who are dedicated to promoting a shared action agenda to catalyze California’s economic recovery through regional strategies, want to express our strong support for Assembly Bill (AB) 886 (Allen) – the Job & Trade Competitiveness Act – for the below reasons.
AB 886 recognizes that California’s international trade sector is a powerful engine driving the state’s economy and is critically important to our state’s job recovery. As the international trade leader of the United States, California’s three customs districts lead the nation, supporting almost $580 billion in two-way trade value in 2012. California’s port activities alone employ more than half a million people throughout the state and add an estimated $7 billion in state and local tax revenues to our General Fund coffers annually.
And let’s not forget that it’s just not California’s seaports that light up the economy; it’s the airports shipping and receiving high-value, time-sensitive products and technologies, such as medical devices, microchips and biopharmaceuticals, and our state’s entire supply chain that are supported by trade activities, including the manufacturing, retail and wholesale trade, construction, transportation and warehousing sectors that provide well-paying, high-value jobs.
AB 886 helps to protect and grow this vitally important international trade sector and creates jobs for Californians by providing tax incentives for boosting exports and imports through California seaports and airports and, most importantly, for creating new cargo-moving jobs in our state. For example, exporters that increase their cargo tonnage by at least five percent (5%) over the preceding year would qualify for a state income tax credit. Tax credits would be awarded to those creating and filling new cargo-moving jobs.
AB 886 also advances President Obama’s National Export Initiative to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014. Export-related jobs are important and typically pay up to 16 percent more than the average U.S. wage.
We cannot afford to take California’s competitive edge in international trade for granted. California continues to face stiff competition from Canadian and Mexican ports, as well as from other parts of America’s east, west and Gulf coasts. Moreover, competition will intensify as Gulf and east coast ports aggressively pursue California’s market share once the widened Panama Canal becomes operational in 2015. Make no mistake, ports in Virginia, North Carolina, Louisiana and other competing regions are already preparing to poach our trade business.
Not only are these ports investing billions of dollars in capital improvement programs, they have also put powerful port and other trade-related tax incentives in place to steal our state’s lucrative international trade business and the jobs supported by it. We must not cede our leadership to those regions.
AB 886 gives us the means to grow jobs – business, manufacturing and trade-related jobs – in the years to come and to maintain California’s competitive edge as the nation’s international trade leader. For these reasons, we strongly support AB 886.
Southern California Leadership Council
President & CEO
Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation
President & CEO
Bay Area Council
President & CEO
North Bay Leadership Council
cc: Honorable Members of the California Assembly Revenue & Taxation Committee
Assemblymember Travis Allen