The problems California faces are not just the failure of our politicians in Sacramento to balance the budget — particularly given the exorbitant cost of public employee pensions. We also have an economy that is moribund, with many employers seeking opportunities elsewhere — or moving their operations (and with them jobs) overseas and to neighboring states.
In her recent column on the (once-)Golden State’s woes, Debra J. Saunders builds on this point, reminding us that “fixing the budget may be the easier half of [Governor-elect Jerry] Brown’s job“:
Brown has a reputation for talking to people who disagree with him. That’s good, because I didn’t hear a word from Brown on Wednesday that made me believe he understands what he has to do to staunch the flow of jobs, businesses and people with assets from the Golden State.
If he wants dynamic growth, Brown might want to talk to [his vanquished Republican opponent Meg] Whitman, who told me in March that if she had to start eBay all over again, she’d probably locate in Texas.
CNBC recently ranked the Lone Star State as the best state to do business. In the same survey, California ranked 32nd, yet 49th for business friendliness. The Tax Foundation ranked California the 2nd worst state to do business. We need do something to make it a better state to do business, to prevent employers from moving jobs out of the state. We’ve lost nearly 600,000 jobs just since Congress passed the “stimulus.”
I do hope I’m wrong about Jerry Brown. And, to be sure, some aspects of his tenure as Mayor of Oakland show that he is aware of the benefits of pro-business policies. It would be nice if he could talk enacting reforms designed to keep businesses here in California, reforms which would make the Golden State shine once more.