Editorial/Opinion: California Needs To Get Smart About Its Tax Breaks

As Democrats contemplate what to do with their new supermajority power in the Legislature, they should avoid Republicans’ worst fears: tax increases to restore depleted services. Nearly 2 million Californians remain unemployed. Economic growth must be a top priority. And one of the best ways to accomplish it is to reform the California Environmental Quality Act.
The law, known as CEQA, requires local governments to analyze the environmental effects of development projects and look for ways to mitigate them. It’s one reason the state has been able to preserve its natural beauty — a central component of its attraction for residents and businesses — and it has given residents a strong voice in community development.
But it is too often abused by a whole range of interests: NIMBYs to protect their personal interests, labor unions as a weapon to demand contracts and businesses to stop competition, to name just a few. As one example, a competitor of Moe’s Stop gas station in San Jose used the law to prevent Moe’s from adding pumps.

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