Business leaders say California must improve business climate to keep them

150 150 Cheryl Getuiza

Students answer questions at a California job fair. (Photo: John Guenther)

There’s no doubt about it—the competition is fierce. States like Texas and Nevada are openly trying to lure away business from California. The debate about how effective they are is still going. But with a PR push highlighting lower taxes and easier environmental regulations, moving out sounds tempting.

Is it time for California to step up its game and to roll out the red carpet to businesses? According to a new survey, released by the California Business Roundtable, the answer is a resounding YES.

 The organization surveyed more than 1,100 large and small business leaders across all regions of California on their perspectives on the state’s jobs and business climate.

Here are some highlights:

·         62 percent rated California’s economy worse than the rest of the country

·         69 percent say it’s harder to do business in California than any other state

·         54 percent of those with companies with operations in other states were more optimistic on the economy versus 39 percent California only companies

·         26 percent say the results of the 2012 election will have a positive impact on expanding investment and jobs while 51 percent say it will have a negative impact

“The overall outlook for 2013 is clearly one of caution regarding jobs and investment with 24 percent of California companies surveyed planning to add jobs, 16 percent planning to cut jobs and 55 percent planning to stay on their current course,” said Robert Lapsley, President of the California Business Roundtable.

“The survey also revealed that large and small business leaders continue to be unified in their viewpoints on the need for additional reforms to improve California’s business climate. Business leaders specifically cited tax reforms that would have the most positive impact on the state’s overall economic climate,” said Lapsley.

Despite the business community’s concerns, here are some things to keep in mind: California’s current unemployment rate is 9.8 percent. It’s steadily been going down the past few months.

“These kinds of opinion surveys are always interesting and worth considering but it is important to understand they are based on perceptions and not necessary economic data which shows California’s job growth is faster than the nation and adding more jobs than any other state,” said Doug Henton, CEO Collaborative Economics.

The year-over-year change, from December 2011 to December 2012, shows an increase of 225,900 jobs, up 1.6 percent.

“The questions in this business climate survey focused mainly on regulatory reforms and not investments,” said Henton.

Clearly there’s some work that still needs to be done. Seven Signature Initiatives were identified at the first ever California Economic Summit. Two include streamlining regulations and CEQA. Action teams are working towards full implementation with an overall goal of helping boost California’s economy. 


Cheryl Getuiza

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