SACRAMENTO — Employers in California are in an impossible position, squeezed between the state and federal governments, because of an immigration act passed at the turn of the year, according to one business location consultant.
Joe Vranich, who heads Spectrum Location Solutions, is openly encouraging companies to leave the state following the passsing of the Immigrant Worker Protection Act.
The act's introduction was a "dreadful change" because employers can be penalized even if they followed federal immigration laws, according to Vranich, who himself has relocated to Pennsylvania.
The law, sometimes characterized as a move to turn California into a "sanctuary state," states that employers can admit to a worksite immigration enforcement agents only if they provide a warrant, and must not hand over employee records without a subpoena.
Business leaders decried its introduction, arguing it places them in a vice between federal and state law. Following its enactment, State Attorney General Xavier Becerra said his office would pursue employers, who face fines up to $10,000.
"It puts companies in a lose/lose situation…what hubris that basically beats up companies," Vranich told the Northern California Record.
Vranich said his position, to encourage companies to leave the state, was unusual because relocation companies, and their executives, know they have to deal with the state, including Gov. Jerry Brown's office.
He has no fear of being in that position as he has only one client in California, does not expect to do any other business in the state, and has relationships all over the country.
Overall, Vranich added, the legal, tax, overall regulatory, and environmental rules, make it difficult to do business in the state.
But, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, California has the biggest state GDP in the U.S. at approximately $2.7 trillion, an increase of $127 billion of the previous year.
Vranich said it was the biggest economy because of its sheer size, and the strength of the tech sector, and that Texas was doing twice as well on many economic levels.
For example, he said, "California has the highest number of poor people…more people on welfare."