Where are the jobs?
As if the importance of next month's California Economic Summit wasn't obvious, several news stories this week both underscore and reiterate its importance.
When we read the news that California state tax revenues are coming in weaker than hoped, it meant that employment in the state hasn't picked up the way it was projected. And then news that the overall U.S economy had a weaker than expected first quarter simply hammers home the need to focus on job creation and improving California's ability to compete in the global economy.
And the Sacramento Bee's Dan Walters, one of the state's most respected political writers, summed up the weak nature of California's economy in a recent video clip on the Bee website. Walters, like many, don't think a dramatic postitive rebound of the state's economy will happen soon.
In light of this grim news, we ask the question: Why does holding the Summit make sense?
There are a couple of obvious reasons:
1. California does not really have one economy, but rather, a series of regional economies. Perhaps because of the regional nature of our economy, there is no single state economic policy. The Summit begins to address that.
2. Because of the fragile nature of both our state and national economies, this is the right time to find areas that we can agree on to build consensus on the best ways to spur growth.
The Summit, which is attracting Californians from all fourteen regions where we met with local Californians, is going to spend its time looking at five key areas:
- How To Better Prepare our Workforce for the 21st Century Jobs
- How to Increase Infrastructure Spending (Roads, Airport, Water)
- How to Encourage Innovation
- How To Streamline Regulation (while protecting the environment)
- How To Create Better Access to Capital (so businesses can start and expand)
The Summit will be held May 11 at the Santa Clara Convention Center.
What do you think is the most important topic being raised at the Summit?