GOP candidate for governor Neel Kashkari's jobs plan, which he'll officially unveil Tuesday, takes a lot of its cues from his party's playbook: big corporate tax breaks, stepped-up oil and gas fracking, redirecting money from high-speed rail to water storage and changing the state's environmental protections, labor laws and other regulations.
Much of the plan will almost certainly be seen as controversial in increasingly blue California, and would face significant opposition from the Democrat-led Legislature. But the plan's reception couldn't be gauged Monday because Kashkari's campaign gave it to reporters on the condition that they share it with nobody -- not even policy experts -- until Tuesday.
Kashkari, a former Treasury Department official from Orange County, might have to struggle to make his message heard. Reports due Monday showed Gov. Jerry Brown's re-election campaign had $19.7 million banked as of March 17, while Kashkari had $903,000 and about $94,000 in outstanding debt. Republican candidate Tim Donnelly had not filed his report by this newspaper's deadline.
Kashkari wants to give any business that moves into California and brings at least 100 new jobs -- or any existing California company that opens a new manufacturing plant here -- a 10-year break from paying any state corporate taxes on income generated by its new California operation. And Kashkari said he would "assert national leadership" by working with Congress to pass free-trade bills that open new markets to California goods.
Fracking -- short for hydraulic fracturing, or using pressurized liquid to break rock formations to mine gas or oil -- of the Monterey Shale could create up to 2.8 million new jobs, $223 billion worth of personal income growth, and $24.6 billion in increased state, local and tax revenues, his plan estimates, though another study says it probably would produce far less. Brown has moved too slowly on this and the regulatory bill he signed into law last year allows too much opposition, Kashkari says, vowing to form a task force to speed it up.
Kashkari spokeswoman Jessica Ng said this isn't at odds with California's goals for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, but rather part of an "all of the above" energy policy.
With the state's huge agricultural sector reliant on a steady water supply, Kashkari wants to ask voters to redirect up to $9.95 billion they approved in 2008 for high-speed rail to be spent instead on new water storage and restoring existing reservoirs to full capacity; he also wants to work with Congress on some sort of cost-sharing deal with the federal government.
Finally, Kashkari wants every state regulation to automatically sunset on its 10-year anniversary unless the Little Hoover Commission -- an independent, bipartisan state oversight panel -- reviews it and votes to keep it. Kashkari also wants to reform the California Environmental Quality Act, the 1970 law requiring the state, counties and cities to prepare environmental impact reports before approving big projects; Brown and state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg pushed for CEQA reform in 2013 but couldn't steer lawmakers to a deal.
And Kashkari wants to change California labor law so overtime pay kicks in only after a 40-hour work week, not after an eight-hour day. California has been a "daily overtime" state since 2000, though 47 other states have no such law. Supporters say it protects workers from being forced to work long hours without extra pay or regard for personal and family obligations. Republicans repeatedly have tried to do away with it over the past decade; Assembly Democrats killed the most recent attempt in January.