California Economy: Punching bag or comeback kid?

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Punching bag

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for California in the papers. It’s become a virtual punching bag, earning itself an “F” in a recent survey of small businesses and even being held up as an economic bogeyman in the presidential race.

Bloggers are kept busy typing up laundry lists on why companies are leaving California. And opinion writers follow the story by bloviating about other people’s lists.

Not to be outdone by Texas, there’s been a recent back-and-forth about companies moving to Iowa, or not, depending on who you talk to. The California economy even grabbed the title “America’s Greece.” Ouch.

Much of this talk found a huge batch of extra fuel from the doubly bad news of a large state budget deficit and then a larger-than-estimated deficit. This has forced Gov. Jerry Brown to defend his plan to raise taxes and attempt to convince people that California is not a “failed state.”

So, there are plenty of people talking about how terrible the Golden State’s economy is and how it used to be the seventh largest economy in the world. There are also people, including campaigning politicians, talking about solutions for the state’s economy.

But, who is actually doing something about it? For one, the California Economic Summit.

Taking on the problems faced by our economy, the Summit gathered input from 14 regional forums, leading up to the first ever statewide economic summit on May 11.

Now, through an innovative crowdsourcing effort, the Summit team is poring through the hundreds of ideas generated by attendees. The Summit will report on the progress of creating recommendations and next steps at the end of June.

We’ve got a laundry list, too, and it includes actions like “helping small businesses innovate” and “streamlining regulations.”

Kathleen Moxon, director of Redwood Coast Rural Action, said it’s not necessarily the rules that frustrate businesses in her region, but it is definitely the lack of clarity in the rules. 

“We periodically get negative press about the regulatory climate in California,” said Moxon. “Although, in some ways, if we didn’t have the regulatory climate have, we wouldn’t have a place that’s in demand.”

The California economy, also, can’t wait much longer for help. One of our Facebook fans recently commented that she was most interested in what actions will come out of the Summit. We are, too.

If you’d like to take action and contribute to the process, you can add your own ideas using our “digital wall board” and read up on some background with our 2012 Playbook


John Guenther

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