For the first time this year, San Diego’s gross domestic product is expected to surpass $200 billion. I was proud to take part in negotiations to provide tax credits for our biotechnology, life sciences, aerospace and film industries, all of which are major contributors to our regional economy.

Commentary - in-story logoCountywide, these industries employ 26,000 people with high-paying jobs, and generate billions of dollars for our local economy. They are also on the cutting edge of important research that has the potential to save millions of lives worldwide.

These industries are vital to job creation here in San Diego, but California still faces many challenges.

We can no longer rely on our state’s weather and beauty to attract new businesses and jobs. We need to be realistic about the level of competition we face.

California has the third-worst business climate in the nation, the highest corporate income tax rate, the highest sales tax and the second-highest gas tax. Governors from states like Texas, Arizona and Nevada are working hard to take away our businesses.

During the last legislative session, 37 bills were introduced that were designated “job killers” by the California Chamber of Commerce. Fortunately, my colleagues and I were able to stop all but three of them, helping to protect California jobs.

We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?

As I begin my second Assembly term, protecting California jobs will continue to be one of my top priorities. Some of the best ways we can do that start here at the local level, focusing on buying local and building up training for our future workforce.

This is why I’ve endorsed the “Think Local First” initiative. San Diego’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and buying locally is an effective way to create jobs. By buying, hiring and contracting locally, we can send a message to potential companies that San Diego is open for business.

In fact, it has been reported that for every $100 spent at a locally-owned business, between $45 and $68 go back into the community. That’s money that can be used to fund public safety, improve our schools or provide services to San Diego’s homeless veteran population.

In order to remain economically competitive, we must also invest in our next generation of leaders. Traveling throughout our community, one of the biggest concerns I hear from small business owners is the lack of a trained workforce.

Experts predict that by 2025, California will have a workforce shortage of 1 million college graduates. That’s why I strongly disagree with the decision by the University of California Regents to increase tuition rates by 5 percent over the next five years. Higher tuition will only make it harder for students and their families to afford college and will result in fewer graduates to fulfill the demand for high-skilled jobs.

San Diego is home to some of the best universities in the country – UC San Diego, University of San Diego, San Diego State University, Cal State San Marcos and incredible private institutions as well. Our younger students who work hard in the hopes of one day attending these schools should not see their dreams shattered because of skyrocketing tuition costs.

I’m supporting Assembly Bill 42, which would freeze tuition and fees at our public colleges and universities while Proposition 30 is in effect. I will do everything I can to keep college affordable and accessible.

Looking forward, I am confident that none of California’s challenges are too great to overcome. By working together, we can make good on California’s promise of offering a better life for all our residents.

Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, R-San Diego, represents the 77th Assembly District in the California Legislature. Maienschein’s commentary has been edited for style and clarity. See anything in there we should fact check? Tell us what to check out here.

    This article relates to: Business, Opinion, Quest: Business Climate, State Government

    Written by Catherine Green

    Catherine Green is deputy editor at Voice of San Diego. She handles daily operations while helping to plan new long-term projects. You can contact her directly at or 619.550.5668. Follow her on Twitter: @c_s_green.

    Phillip Franklin
    Phillip Franklin subscriber

    After reading this claptrap from this politician it reminded of a slogan put on a campaign button and stickers by President Ford in the mid 1970's.  It was W.I. N.  which meant Whip Inflation Now.  These paragraphs were not  ingenious well thought out and described ideas but simply tired slogans.  Slogans never seem to create policy nor solve difficult and complex problems.  Slogans are just slogans which basically show the shallowness and political lust of those that use them.

    Chris Brewster
    Chris Brewster subscribermember

    In my view hyperbole alone is unpersuasive.

    William Stensrud
    William Stensrud subscribermember

    The UC systems budget was $22.5 billion in 2011-2012.  The State of California provided 11% of that.  89% came from tuition, donations and other sources.  The State of California provides 150% of the onerous regulations and management of the University of California system.  Legislators who have zero experience in education telling the university how much tuition to charge, how much to pay their faculty and a 1000 other rules and regulations.  It is a miracle that the great leaders we have had at the state and campus level have been able to preserve any of the world class excellence that has powered the California economy for most of the last century.  I would propose that we liberate the UC system from the State Government.  They can make up the 11% from private sources and then get on with the work of rebuilding what was once, before the politicians took over, the single greatest institution of higher learning on the planet.

    Michael Robertson
    Michael Robertson subscribermember

    Thanks for the data but I'd contend you fail to realize that the UC system has morphed into something far different from its original charter. They're now research centers subsidized by students taking out massive loans who receive liberal indoctrination under the guise of education. Instruction is given mostly by TAs not professors. The emphasis is on incorporating liberal ideology not on teaching a marketable job skill.

    I agree the state should get out of the college business. They should sell the UC campuses and let the free market take over. If they did, we'd watch education quality and innovation skyrocket and the cost decline massively.

    Mike subscriber

    "I will do everything I can to keep college affordable and accessible."

    Does that promise include approving a state budget that increases state funding to all CA public colleges? Because, you know, that's what state schools are suppose to be, state funded. On the other hand, you know what wasn't suppose to be state funded back when they wrote the constitution? Tax subsidies to private companies, real estate developers, and sports teams.

    john.nicholas.middleton subscriber

    I am an internship coordinator at Lincoln. If you are willing to mentor our students, please contact me at Thanks! 

    Derek Hofmann
    Derek Hofmann subscribermember

    Would Assembly Bill 42 freeze tuition and fees in nominal or real dollars? Assuming nominal dollars, wouldn't AB42 have the effect of increasing tuition and fees in real dollars during periods of deflation?