Capitol Day attendees listen to Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) on Tuesday. (Photo Credit: Skip Jones/Skip Photography)
The Economic Summit has steadily advanced the priorities of California’s regional economies over the last two years. But never more so than this year, when, thanks to the efforts of all seven Summit action teams, the 2014-15 state budget is supporting a broad range of Summit proposals, several key bills have adopted Summit ideas, and great strides are being made in and outside the Capitol to create the partnerships California needs to be competitive in the global economy.
Looking back on our goals for the year, every one of the major legislative proposals identified in The Summit Plan to Advance Prosperity in 2014 has been accomplished – from new investments in workforce training and infrastructure to a permanent source of funding for affordable housing. Summit action teams have offered assistance to state leaders grappling with the drought, explored options for reducing regulatory uncertainty for businesses and public agencies alike, and are laying a foundation to expand access to capital for small businesses all over California.
The Summit also lent its support to a Southern California manufacturing consortium that was named one of 12 new “manufacturing communities” by the U.S. Department of Commerce – a new federal designation that will make the region’s public/private manufacturing partners eligible for $1.3 billion in federal funds. More Summit partners aim to follow suit in the years to come.
These successes continue to demonstrate the promise of the shared agenda for prosperity shaped by the Summit’s statewide partnership of private, public, and civic champions. They also reveal just how much the Summit’s regions-based efforts to take on state challenges have begun to resonate in and out of the capital.
Now that we’ve gathered with lawmakers at the Summit Capitol Day, our focus is on what’s next: How can this partnership between California Forward and the California Stewardship Network – and our expanding regional coalitions – build on our work thus far? And how can we support state leaders as they look for ways to support the training of California workers for the 21st century economy, help to make the promise of sustainable, affordable communities a reality, and champion long-term investments in the state’s transportation, water systems and unparalleled working landscapes?
While the Summit’s work – with its ultimate goal of economic prosperity, environmental quality, and opportunity for all – cannot be accomplished in a day, a week, or even a year, this legislative session has proved just how effective the Summit approach can be.
The road ahead is clear: We must take the lessons learned from this last year of success, tap the power of regional economies, and continue to build the statewide partnerships that will drive prosperity for all Californians.