There has been a lot going on in the Los Angeles area including a sizable enterprise zone expansion, the creation of a new “business tax holiday,” discounts from the Department of Water and Power for new businesses, and even a fast-track program to help new businesses rapidly set up their power and water services.
This aggressive pursuit of business is at least partially a response to well-deserved bad press about California’s unfriendly business climate. Here’s what Mr. Beutner had to say about that.
Try this, for adding insult to injury. Not only did Chief Executive Magazine recently rank California as America’s worst state for business, but the publication called us “the Venezuela of North America.”
In other words, the Golden State, with its world-class economy, is no better than a dictatorship that can’t keep its lights on.
Fighting words? You bet. But sometimes a slap across the face can also serve as a wake-up call. After losing more than 111,000 jobs in the Southland this past year and seeing marquee corporate names head elsewhere, we have to develop smarter ways to retain businesses and attract new investment.
Let’s all hope the California state legislature learns to respond in similar ways.
Austin Beutner is first deputy mayor and CEO of the city’s Office of Economic and Business Policy, and general manager of the Department of Water and Power.