Governor's adviser says business can be attracted
By Barbara Smith/Business Writer, The Reporter
Local officials can better market California if they emphasize its desirous climate and lifestyle, and its quality workforce, among other attributes, the governor's chief business promoter told the 22nd annual meeting of Solano Economic Development Corp. on Wednesday.
David Crane, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's top aide for jobs and economic growth, spoke to 225 business leaders and elected officials at a luncheon held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fairfield. Solano EDC is a public-private partnership that attracts new employers and industry to Solano County.
A charismatic Crane alternately informed and entertained the festive crowd, but primarily underscored the governor's philosophy that a good economy and local promoters create jobs and attract new business, not state government. By selling the unique assets of the state - not by offering tax breaks, incentives and free land - California will win in the long run, he said.
The job of the state is to lower unnecessary costs imposed on job creators, Crane said. "Government doesn't create jobs, and if they're not careful, they can kill jobs."
He added, "Government should treat job creators and workers as customers, rather than subjects."
When he took on his post, Crane said, he perceived a negative attitude from some businesses and organizations that plead for financial support from the government while seeming to ignore California's enormous, natural advantages.
The Golden State has the highest quality workforce, unbeatable lifestyle, an entrepreneurial culture, and clustering of key industries, he said. A new attitude is needed to go along with the governor's policies.
"California is simply a dream location for many kinds of enterprises," he said.
Crane pointed out that in the past 12 months, more than 150,000 jobs have been added, unemployment has dropped, and more than 17,000 public sector jobs have been eliminated.
Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, recently returned from Japan where they promoted tourism. In the spring, they will travel to China to sell California's products.
"If the governor had his druthers, he'd go everywhere in Asia."
Fairfield businessman Dick Banks asked how Crane felt about the Schwarzenegger changing the structure of government.
"I think that the reforms that the governor proposed were brilliant," Crane said. "The only people who don't like them are the vested interest groups ... those people have very deep pockets and they're going to fight like the dickens."
Solano County Supervisor Duane Kromm pointed out that present governor and former governor Gray Davis had not addressed what he called a $68 billion "structural deficit."
"Arnold hasn't done it, Gray didn't do it," Kromm said.
Crane responded that a $68 billion structural deficit cannot be eliminated in one year. "You cannot close the structural deficit without reforming the process," he said. And that is what the governor's new budget intends to accomplish.
Barbara Smith can be reached at email@example.com.
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