Monthly Archives: January 2014

Priorities for 2014: Fighting for Meaningful Immigration Reform

No Comments
January 29  |  Federal Issues  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . When we eat a loaf of bread, do we bite one slice at a time, or swallow it whole?

That seems to be the debate in D.C. about meaningful immigration reform.

The U.S. Senate, under Democratic control, passed one large comprehensive bill. Good work, and we applaud their effort.

The U.S. House of Representatives, under Republican control, is looking to pass four to five separate immigration bills, collectively adding up to meaningful reform.

To paraphrase William Shakespeare: A rose by any other name is still a rose. Whether one comprehensive bill or several slices of legislation adding up to the entire loaf, the key is meaningful reform that strengthens our economy for all of our workers – high-tech, low-tech and no-tech.

For Silicon Valley, we need to compete globally with talent born in the United States as well as those adventurous enough to come here.

For California’s rich agriculture industry, workers are needed who grow and harvest our fruits, vegetables and nuts.

For kids and parents who came here seeking freedom and a better quality of life, a well-lit path to leave the shadows and engage as legal residents is also important.

We are a nation of immigrants – whether my father’s parents who came here from Sicily at the dawn of the last century, or folks arriving every day. It is time America’s immigration system was updated, and I applaud members of both the House and Senate – Democrat and Republican – for taking this on, one slice at a time.

Tagged

Priorities for 2014: BART Extension – Phase II

No Comments
January 22  |  Transportation  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Let’s never forget BART’s great start.

For the past 15 years, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group has championed bringing BART to Silicon Valley, including successful ballot measures in 2000 and 2008, along with advocacy to secure $2 billion in state and federal matching funds.

These efforts have led to the construction of the first 10 miles of the 16-mile BART extension, which is running nearly $100 million under-budget and a full year ahead of schedule. Service will begin in the summer of 2017.

While we monitor the progress on the first 10 miles, we cannot lose sight of the final six miles. Here’s why:

  • The first 10 miles takes BART from Warm Springs in Fremont to Milpitas and Berryessa in North San Jose, linking with Light Rail.
  • The final six miles adds four more stations: In Alum Rock, Downtown San Jose, Diridon Station/SAP Center and Santa Clara.
  • All 16 miles will serve roughly 90,000 daily passenger trips, removing 16,000 tons of greenhouse gasses from our atmosphere each year.
  • All 16 miles leads to 108,000 new jobs and 27,000 new homes within a half-mile of the six new BART stations, easing congestion on our roads and highways.

Yes, BART is off to a great start – but let’s never forget to finish what we start. That’s why phase II of the BART extension, the final six miles, remains a top priority of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

Tagged , , ,

Priorities for 2014: Strengthening California’s Higher Education Systems

1 Comments
January 16  |  Education  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Companies need colleges.

Without world-class talent raised or recruited here, our region would be one more one-hit wonder, rather than the innovation capital of the world.

That’s one reason why the Silicon Valley Leadership Group will focus even further on ensuring that higher education serves everyone who wishes to call Silicon Valley and California home.

With tangible goals and specific outcomes, we will be partnering in 2014 with our Community Colleges, UC campuses, CSU system and private sector universities to make them more affordable and accessible for our students, more compelling for faculty and staff, and more transparent and accountable to taxpayers.

Our Higher Education Task Force, under the creative leadership of UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal and Lockheed Martin Space Systems President Tory Bruno, already is working directly with the new President of the UC system, Janet Napolitano, to achieve specific goals that will drive the world’s best research campuses to greater success.

So why does any of this matter to you and me? Bottom line – It’s about jobs. Jobs for us and jobs for our kids. You see, in the United States today, a young person at least 25-years-old without a college diploma, suffers from an unemployment rate of 7.7 percent. The equivalent 25-year-old, with a bachelor’s degree in any subject, enjoys an unemployment rate of only 3.3 percent.

That’s why our work to improve California’s higher education systems is so important to the 382 CEOs who own the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. If we do a good job today, it will lead to more jobs, for more young people, tomorrow.

Tagged , , , ,

Priorities for 2014: Comprehensive Business Tax Reform

No Comments
January 8  |  Tax Policy  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Benjamin Franklin once said, “Nothing is certain but death and taxes.”

Ironically, recent events in Washington, D.C. have led many to believe that “Nothing is certain but the death of tax reform.”

At the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, we are concerned that this may be the case for business tax reform. American businesses deserve better, and America’s economy needs better.

Allow me to explain.

For the past four years, a bipartisan, bicameral effort has been underway to develop meaningful, comprehensive business tax reform that is fair to U.S. businesses and would make American employers competitive abroad.

Democrat Senator Max Baucus of Montana and Republican Congressman Dave Camp of Michigan have invested four years – working together in a productive, positive way – meeting every week that they are in D.C. on meaningful, thoughtful reform.

Senator Baucus, who planned to retire at the end of 2014 from the Senate, had also viewed this multi-year effort as the capstone of his career. Then, just two weeks ago, to the surprise of many, President Obama announced his plans to appoint Senator Baucus as America’s next Ambassador to China. Regardless of the merits of that selection, losing the Senator at this time makes meaningful tax reform – after four years of work – a much steeper climb.

Keeping the Senator in the Senate, working to pass the first comprehensive tax reform legislation in 30 years, would serve our nation much better than a post in China.

Tagged , , ,