Gov. Brown makes his entrance to give is State of the State speech today. (Photo: Office of Governor)
“Two years ago, they were writing our obituary,” Gov. Jerry Brown said today in his State of the State address. “Well, it didn’t happen. California is back.”
In a speech that gave top billing to the ongoing California jobs comeback, Brown highlighted his goals on a range of issues identified as top priorities for the state by the Economic Summit—from driving workforce development and streamlining state regulations to focusing state government on funding long-delayed upgrades to the state’s transportation infrastructure.
The governor singled out in particular the work of his new Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), a key Summit partner. “California lost 1.3 million jobs in the Great Recession, but we are coming back at a faster pace than the national average,” Brown said, crediting the state’s business development office for its work directly assisting more than 5,000 companies this year.
Brown pointed to one business, in particular, South Korea-based Samsung Semiconductor, Inc., which was recently persuaded by GO-Biz to locate its only research and development facility in the world in California. “The new facility in San Jose will place at least 2,500 people in high skill, high wage jobs,” Brown said today.
Success stories like Samsung are only the beginning, Kish Rajan, the recently appointed director of GO-Biz, told the Economic Summit in a series of video interviews published last week.”We’re very focused on driving and improving California’s long-term economic prospects,” Rajan said. “We know we have tremendous advantages in California. We really do have assets that make us a very successful state economically.”
Despite the doom and gloom of recent years, California has led the nation in private-sector job creation over the last 12 months, creating nearly 300,000 jobs. “We’re growing at a much faster rate than the national average,” Rajan said. “But there are opportunities for improvement.”
The governor’s address today certainly made this clear: Even as the economy recovers, he is staying focused on making sure the state does everything it can do to stay open for business. His speech also included the announcement that California would be opening its own trade and investment office in Shanghai later this year.
“The governor has been very clear with us at GO-Biz that it’s our responsibility… to work directly with companies that want to come to California, want to expand in California, or maybe want to move to another state,” said Rajan. “We bring our team directly to bear on those issues and work with those businesses to try to identify ways to help them make the business case to stay in California.”
Rajan and his team will be releasing a more detailed report early next week about the progress the state is making on this front—and his office’s priorities for the coming year.
“We’re out telling that story: We want to engage with business,” said Rajan. “If a business is considering coming to California, reshoring, or making a larger investment, but they need to know if there’s an office they can turn to in state government that can help them think through that? The GO-Biz office is open and ready and eager to talk with them about that.”
Creating jobs in California and keeping them here. That’s a state of the state all Californians can get behind.