The Conversation

The Conversation feedback: Missing the full economic picture

Last Sunday’s Conversation, “Missing the full economic picture,” looked at California’s economic growth under the light of anecdotes of businesses leaving the Golden State. The article by Christopher Thornberg cited issues of housing costs, the state’s aging infrastructure and education system that discourage businesses. The solutions were not slashing tax rates and offering special tax incentives.

“The real solutions are far more mundane,” Thornberg wrote. “Simplify the regulatory process and make it more predictable, scale back CEQA to allow firms to invest and end the housing shortage, enact fiscal reform to push funds toward long-term public infrastructure needs, and carry out educational reform to make sure the state has a skilled workforce for the future.”

Reader response:


Evaluating a location for employees

Re “Missing the full economic picture” (Forum, May 18): I appreciate Christopher Thornberg’s article regarding Toyota’s recent announcement to move a portion of its California working group to Texas. His perspective and discussion of facts provides a much better understanding of California’s business conditions and what companies may consider when choosing to retain or move some of their employees from a particular location.

A successful company generally elevates employee talent above all other considerations, and it will evaluate a location’s attributes to attract and retain such talent. It makes sense that a desirable location for employment would have good affordable housing, access to well-functioning transportation and energy systems, and solid primary, secondary and higher-learning educational institutions.

– Daniel Fong, Rancho Cordova

De-industrialization continues

Christopher Thornberg’s pep piece about how California is a leader in economic growth is nonsense. It misses all the bases.

Our de-industrialization continues apace, accelerated by Assembly Bill 32’s rising carbon dioxide taxes on energy production and use, and fueling the relentless rise in prices for electricity, gasoline, food, transportation, etc.

Aerospace, automotive, aluminum, steel, oil and 600,000 other jobs are largely gone. Houston has added 9 million square feet versus 1 million in Los Angeles.

Four million middle-class workers have left for other states in the last decade. We have the highest poverty rate and the largest fraction of the nation’s welfare recipients.

Our schools and roads are ranked near the bottom, but teachers and Caltrans employees are the country’s highest paid.

The left cares little. The death spiral of the economy means increasing numbers on government assistance who will vote for Democrats.

– F. Paul Brady, Davis

From Facebook

Gary Gustafson – “The average California worker earned $54,000 last year – 13.6 percent more than the overall U.S. average.” The story curiously leaves out the high cost of living in California.

Lorraine Krofchok – It is all a trade-off, Gary. The word here is “living” and that is what we do in California, even in winter.

Alan Kendrick – You can’t put a value on wonderful weather and superior geographic beauty, though. The value of living in California is in the eclectic nature of the citizenry and culture.

Gary Gustafson – I was pointing out the one-sided loop presented!

Brook J. Taylor – California led the nation in private-sector job creation last year and was No. 3 in growth percentage – ahead of states like Texas and Florida. It’s a much different picture than our competitors would have you believe.

Laurie Lynn – Try not taxing everything so heavily that businesses leave the state, taking jobs with them.

John Bovee – The solution, as the author states, is simple but politically unpalatable – state government is completely dysfunctional. Any gains California has made have come in spite of state government, not because of it.

Darrell Reeves – You ask what are the top three things that our inept, tax-and-spend Legislature can do to attract more business to California. No. 1 would be for the Legislature to go back to a part-time status as it was up until 1966. Less government interference is best, when businesses have to contend with the draconian regulations and laws and taxes that are forced upon us in the private sector, especially for small businesses. The consumer always pays more for products or services due to the Legislature imposing these taxes and regulations. It costs a lot in time and money to address all of these laws and regulations that the fools down at the bill mill force upon us. … The Legislature only cares about increasing it’s size and power, thus throttling any growth in the private sector.