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DeMaio details jobs plan, looks to eliminate small business tax

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San Diego City Councilmember and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio released the job creation plan he’s crafted over the last six months, continuing his efforts to reduce regulations facing San Diego businesses.

The 112-point plan is the result of job creation summits the councilmember held and acts as his submission to the council’s Economic Development and Strategies Committee. He released the plan Tuesday at a press conference at the Embarcadero Marina Park.

“Just like Roadmap to Recovery last year, I intend to use this document to drive this debate over the next several months as city leaders have shown a willingness and interest in looking at ways to help our economy,” DeMaio said at a press conference presenting his plan.

Along with calling for a new "deputy mayor for job creation" who would report directly to the mayor and constructing a replacement mechanism for redevelopment agencies, the Pathway to Prosperity also calls for the completion of the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan with a new naval headquarters at the site of his press conference. He also said he would make San Diego a “Fair and Open Employment Region,” barring hiring based on union membership.

He prescribed 10 economic strategies, each consisting of a series of specific reforms detailed in his 93-page report.

The emphasis of his plan is on regulatory reform, which would, among other things, streamline permitting processes and grant the mayor the ability to waive off regulatory requirements if the business receiving relief signs a “job creation performance contract” guaranteeing it creates a specified number of jobs.

“Remember that I’m a businessman,” he said. “I demand accountability from every transaction.”

Continuing an ongoing battle he’s had with local unions, DeMaio said no San Diegan should be required to join a union to apply for or receive a job.

“That is unfair and discriminatory and that’s why the Pathway for Prosperity requires fair and open competition policies on local government projects and decisions,” he said.

His plan targets the city’s most prominent sectors -- biotech, clean tech, tourism, housing and defense -- for assistance by improving work force training programs, and by offering additional guidance on regulatory relief.

DeMaio would cut overhead on job training programs by one-third and freeze it for one year, diverting the saved money to direct service job training programs.

In addition to hosting monthly town halls by sector on regulatory questions, he also suggests creating “job sector coordinators” that would trouble-shoot regulatory issues for members of each local industry.

The city, trade associations and economic development organizations would then launch an international campaign to inform industry of the improved business climate in San Diego.

The Pathway to Prosperity calls for investment in infrastructure by replacing redevelopment agencies with Neighborhood Investment Collaboratives.

“If we succeed in getting some form of redevelopment restored, we cannot go back to business as usual; we must hold these redevelopment agencies accountable for public infrastructure improvements and a return on investment in the form of jobs.”

DeMaio suggests eliminating the small business tax, and using pension and other fiscal reforms to cut the cost recovery fees charged to all businesses.

He suggests creating a tax force to protect existing military bases and encourage consolidating other military functions to San Diego as the federal government considers realignment and base closures due to budgetary constraints.

DeMaio’s plan would also establish San Diego as a gateway to emerging economies in the Asia-Pacific Rim, targeting the region on trade missions and through tourism campaigns.

Taking a page from an organization in Texas, Opportunity Austin, DeMaio suggests creating Opportunity San Diego, which would coordinate a singular strategy through a single payment stream from the disparate trade, government entities and business groups in the city that often have overlapping objectives.

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