Jobs and the Economy

From the agricultural plains of the Central Valley to the beautiful Pacific coastline and everything in-between, there is no better place to live, work or invest than California. It is the eighth largest economy in the world, home to fifty-seven Fortune 500 companies and, according to Dow Jones Venture Source, leads the nation in venture capital: drawing 40 percent of the deals nationwide – 3.5 times as many as the next highest state.

The importance of California’s economy to the United States is unquestioned. As a share of the nation’s whole, California accounts for 13 percent of the nation’s GDP and 11 percent of the nation’s exports. Additionally, no other state can lay claim to Silicon Valley: the pillar of high-tech businesses and high-tech manufacturing.

California’s dominant economy is no accident and is the direct result of steadfast commitments to educating our workforce and protecting our environment – commitments the Lieutenant Governor will fight to protect.

California is home to nine of US News and Review’s top 50 universities, premier state university campuses and one of the most accessible community college systems in the nation. These investments in higher education have led to one of the most skilled, productive and enviable workforces in the nation.

Likewise, California’s landmark environmental laws have protected our most precious natural resources while simultaneously allowing our state to become the clean-tech leader it is today. California’s policies have already exerted positive effects on the larger economy. For instance:

  • Over the past 35 years, California’s energy efficiency policies have created 1.5 million jobs, generating $45 billion in payroll;
  • Since 2005, statewide green jobs have grown at a rate ten times faster than total job growth;
  • In 2008, clean-tech venture capital investment in California hit $3.3 billion, 57 percent of the nation’s total.

California must continue these policies if we wish to remain one of the most diverse and dynamic economies in the world.

But California cannot rest on its laurels and rely on sunken investment as an economic development strategy. Now, more than ever, we face increased competition from all over the globe. California must meet this challenge by building on our strengths and understanding our weaknesses.

For over a decade, California has lacked a comprehensive economic and workforce development plan – demonstrating a failure to establish a coherent strategic approach to economic development and trade. As a result, there is a lack of focus and inefficiency in California’s ability to work with business.

The Lieutenant Governor, as a small business owner of over ten companies that have created over a thousand jobs, understands business’ need for coherent government policies. Since assuming office, the Lieutenant Governor has been visiting other states to synthesize best practices from around the country and develop an economic development plan for California.

The Lieutenant Governor has identified the following objectives for California relative to economic and workforce development, trade and government efficiency and “doing business” in California:

  1. Develop a comprehensive economic and workforce development vision that signals a real paradigm shift, making government more efficient and effective partners in developing, retaining and recruiting jobs in California.
  2. Demonstrate the connection between workforce development and economic development in a meaningful way that goes beyond the rhetoric of needing an educated workforce for the 21st Century.
  3. Consolidate all current economic development, small business, job creation, foreign trade, regulatory oversight, business permitting and recruitment and retention government functions to create a new business paradigm in California government. Creating what Brookings Institution calls a “market-oriented, private-sector-leveraging, performance-driven” agency.

As chair of the Commission for Economic Development, the Lieutenant Governor will deliver California’s first economic development plan in over a decade – a plan that will steer the California economy in a way that can be sustained well into the future and reward all Californians.