Neel Kashkari proposes corporate tax breaks in new jobs plan

Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari will propose a jobs plan today that includes tax breaks for companies that move to California or open new manufacturing facilities in the state.

In a 26-page white paper, Kashkari, a former U.S. Treasury Department official, calls for a 10-year corporate-tax exemption for out-of-state companies that bring at least 100 new jobs to California. The exemption applies to revenue from a company’s new California operations and could also be claimed by in-state companies that open new manufacturing facilities.

Kashkari and his Republican rival, Tim Donnelly, have criticized Gov. Jerry Brown relentlessly for the state’s high unemployment and poverty rates, even as the Democratic governor receives widespread credit for the state’s improving budget condition and economic outlook.

Kashkari does not say in his plan how many jobs he estimates the tax break could create, or at what cost, and much of his plan consists of proposals pushed unsuccessfully by Republicans in previous years. He is expected to release his plan at an event in San Diego today.

Among other proposals, Kashkari calls for relaxing provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act, changing overtime rules and capping noneconomic personal-injury awards at $250,000, matching the current cap on such awards in medical malpractice suits.

Kashkari, who has previously pressed for the cancellation of California’s $68 billion high-speed rail project, proposes asking voters to redirect state rail bonds to pay for water-storage projects. Donnelly, also a rail critic, made a similar proposal last month.

Kashkari said in his plan that California is “losing the battle” for jobs with other states, including Texas. In addition to a corporate-tax exemption, Kashkari wants to simplify the state’s regulatory climate. He proposes making state regulations expire after 10 years. Rules would last longer only if extended by a two-thirds vote of the Little Hoover Commission, an oversight board.

Brown, a third-term Democrat, has focused his jobs-related efforts on California’s green energy industries, and in a public dispute with Texas Gov. Rick Perry last year, he criticized Texas for its relatively large percentage of people working low-wage jobs.

Kashkari is releasing his jobs plan a day after filing a financial disclosure that shows his fundraising leveling off after a fast start. In a financial statement Monday, Kashkari reported raising a total of $1.3 million from Jan. 1 to March 17, a figure that includes nearly $1 million Kashkari posted in the first two weeks of his campaign.

Kashkari reported an ending cash balance of $903,478. Although his fundraising has been far better than Donnelly has reported in previous statements, Kashkari holds only a fraction of the nearly $20 million Brown has on hand.

Kashkari’s fundraising has drawn heavily from the financial industry, including former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who gave $27,200, and several employees of Goldman Sachs, where Kashkari previously worked. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch contributed $5,000.

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