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Contrary to myth, California remains powerful magnet for business

There has been yet another upsurge in states and cities around the country targeting California businesses for relocation.   Recently, several articles have highlighted the fact that California companies continue to receive attention from other states trying to lure them out of California.  All of this attention comes as no surprise and could even be considered flattering.  The fact is, stealing a company or two is not going to replicate what is in the DNA of Californians – innovation and a spirit of entrepreneurship.

California is one of the largest and most diverse economies in the world.  Governor Schwarzenegger often refers to California as a nation state.  California’s strength lies in the size, diversity, and adaptability of its economy as well as in the talent and range of its population.  

The state’s quality of life is unmatched and it boasts many unique assets that inspire innovation and creativity, and foster entrepreneurialism.  New ideas are a natural part of life in the Golden State. California supports creativity with a superior educational system and job training that produces an unrivaled, highly skilled labor force. Not only is California is an attractive market for poachers, it is an attractive market for business and remains the number one state for attracting foreign direct investment.  

California is home to the high-tech industries of Silicon Valley, the biotech industries of San Diego and the San Francisco Bay area, the agricultural industry of the Central Valley, and the entertainment industry of Los Angeles, making it the 8th largest economy in the world.  Additionally, what really makes California great is that the best and the brightest from all backgrounds and nations come to California to realize their American dream.

California’s six major industry clusters – created and maintained by the synergy that exists among technological innovations, educational research institutions, skilled workers, and companies – all working together to drive global economic growth.  Businesses appreciate that California has 40 National Laboratories and three out of the ten NASA centers – more than any other state in both categories – taking advantage of California’s workforce and promoting innovation in these clusters and throughout California.

To be successful over the long haul, a state needs capable entrepreneurs and the risk capital to support the conversion of research into commercially viable technology products and services. California is second to none when it comes to Research and Development and Venture Capital investment.  The state leads the way in business ranking lists as well.  In 2007, Forbes.com announced in its online publication that California led all states in the categories of “200 Best Small Companies” and “Fastest-growing Tech Companies.” In addition, in June 2008, 52 California companies were ranked among Fortune Magazine’s prestigious Fortune 500 list of America’s largest corporations and another recent Fortune Magazine article listed 4 California companies among the top 10 best companies to work for in the United States.

Innovation seems to be around every corner in the Golden State.  California has a burgeoning civilian space industry in the Mojave Desert as well as the first civilian designed and built space craft.  California has also inspired companies like Hewlett-Packard, Netscape, Amazon.com, and Yahoo.  Perhaps one of the best examples of the growth potential for business in California is eBay, which started in 1997 and today supports the livelihoods of 1.3 million people. How many other game-changing companies are incubating right now in a garage or laboratory somewhere in California?

However, Californians also understand that inaction does not keep you on the aforementioned lists and that there is always room for improvement.  For this reason, Governor Schwarzenegger negotiated an economic stimulus package in this year’s budget to enhance California’s business environment while helping businesses weather this difficult economy.  The budget includes provisions such as the elective single sales factor, helping level the tax playing field for California businesses; the “new hire” tax credit, rewarding California businesses who are hiring when we need it most; and, streamlining the California Environmental Quality Act permitting standards, expediting projects and generating jobs.  

California’s business infrastructure and dynamic industry clusters allow for companies to experience exponential and sustained growth.  As other states spend millions on poaching campaigns and cannibalizing the American economy, the State of California will continue to invest in infrastructure, encouraging innovation and promoting national economic growth.


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