07/17/2013 by Ed Coghlan
California manufacturing—it’s better than you think
(photo credit: wietse?)
Did you know that California has more manufacturing jobs than any other state? Governor Brown wants to keep it that way.
That's why he signed legislation last week to give California manufacturers some help. The new legislation includes hiring credits for companies in areas blighted with the highest jobless rates, a sales tax exemption on tools for manufacturing and research, development equipment for biotech firms, and tax incentives for companies that create jobs and pay the highest wages.
The California Economic Summit blog ran a story on a ophthalmic medical device company in Ontario (Aaren Scientific) that has grown to include nearly 200 manufacturing jobs and expects to continue to add jobs as its business prospects grow. Like many California companies, it started here and has stayed here. While the allure of other, lower cost areas will always be present, Aaren Scientific and many companies like it have stayed put.
"Manufacturing jobs are the type of middle-class jobs that many Californians desire," said Paul Granillo, who heads the Inland Empire Economic Partnership and is also co-chair of the Summit Steering Committee. "The commitment of more companies like Aaren Scientific build products the state will increase job creation and improve the state's economy."
And later this week, the federal government will hold its only meeting in California (in Woodland on July 18) to discuss its Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership, sponsored by the White House and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Communities will be vying for millions of dollars in federal grants through the program.
"Issue number one in our state is jobs. Californians worry that the middle class is shrinking," said Jim Mayer, president and CEO of California Forward. "We are promoting policies through the California Economic Summit that will help lead to more middle-class jobs and to a stronger position for our state in the global economy."
California Forward and the California Stewardship Network have collaborated for nearly two years on the Summit process which will hold its second statewide event in November in Los Angeles. This year, meetings were held in 16 different regions across the state to identify economic priorities that need to be addressed.
Not surprisingly, advancing manufacturing was chosen as one of those signature initiatives. In addition to the good, middle-class wages created by these jobs, they generate additional high-wage support jobs in design, marketing and logistics. Advancing manufacturing in all the regions of California through well-crafted tax, regulatory, capital and training programs will benefit the entire state economy.