An Election that Shifts the Economic Center West—To the Far East

Jerry Nickelsburg
Adjunct professor of economics at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, and senior economist for the UCLA Anderson Forecast.

Did the presidential election change the Pacific Rim as we know it?

During these days of transition speculation, there is plenty of talk about what president-elect Donald Trump’s victory means for health care, for immigrants, for the economy, for minorities, for NATO, and so on. In terms of long-term national interests, it’s important to add the endangered concept of a U.S.-centric Pacific Rim to this list. This is because the Trump victory may well spell the end of America’s previous Pacific aspirations.

We will quite possibly see a significant shift of innovation and entrepreneurship westward in the Pacific Rim—indeed, so far West that the center of economic gravity ends up firmly in the Far East.

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Three Political Parties Populate the New Legislature

Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

If you listen closely to post election chatter you must conclude that there will be three political parties that occupy seats in the legislature sworn in today: The Democrats, the Republicans and the Moderates.

Questions about moderate Democrats, the so-called “Mod Squad,” and how they may influence the legislative process is a major unknown for the coming session. The number of centrist candidates became greater in the recent election, yet the California legislature continues to veer leftward and is expected to remain on that trajectory as it battles mandates from the Trump administration.

Frustrating Trump in California is one of the goals expressed by California’s political leaders. That insistence likely will wash up against efforts by the Mod Squad to bring a more centrist attitude and bi-partisan spirit to Sacramento.

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CalChamber Survey Reveals Voters’ Homegrown Issues

Loren Kaye and Marty Wilson
Loren Kaye is the President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education. Marty Wilson is the Executive Vice President of Public Affairs at California Chamber of Commerce.

The Second Annual CalChamber Survey, released this week, indicates that the state’s voters believe there are some homegrown issues that deserve the attention of California legislators.

Among top priorities for voters are fixing transportation systems, improving job creation, and addressing high housing costs.

Given a choice among about 20 issues, nearly nine in ten voters believe that Sacramento officials are not spending enough time on fixing roads, highways and bridges in California. Eight in ten voters believe state leaders should be working harder to encourage economic development to attract new businesses to California, and about three quarters of voters want to see more attention paid to addressing high housing costs.

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All I Want for Christmas is an Accountable Supermajority 

B. Wayne Hughes Jr.
Wayne Hughes, Jr. is a California businessman, philanthropist and founder of SkyRose Ranch and Serving California in Central California which treats veterans with PTSD and other disorders. Find out more @BWayneHughesJr

After a thunderstorm of post-election recounts across the Golden State, it appears that Democrats have reclaimed a supermajority in the California Legislature.

Whatever one’s political sway – and this applies to national election results, as well – it’s important for all voters to respect that “the people have spoken,” turn the page and hope for the best.

Having said that, as a proud entrepreneur, supporter of my community, rancher and surfer, I love the great state of California and want nothing more than to see our economy and future thrive for generations to come. To that end, I thought it might be timely to offer our new crop of Democrats in the State Capitol a few words of instructive advice before they settle in all too soon. 

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Xavier Becerra, a Wartime Attorney General

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

If you were uncertain whether California government was already at war Trump-occupied Washington D.C., there’s no reason to doubt any longer.

In choosing Congressman Xavier Becerra to replace U.S. Senator-elect Kamala Harris, Gov. Jerry Brown undeniably chose a wartime attorney general.

Becerra’s pick was a surprise, only if you wondered how fiercely opposed California will be to the Trump administration. Becerra is originally from Sacramento, but he’s a creature of Washington. He’s spent 24 years in Congress and risen high in the leadership of the House. If the state is going to have to protect its policies and its people from Washington, why not draw on a lawyer who understands Washington deeply?

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Is Becerra Bad for Business?

Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

Response from the business community over Governor Jerry Brown’s selection of Congressman Xavier Becerra as the next attorney general will be muted for the most part. Not a surprise. Why would any business leader want to make a negative comment about someone taking over such a powerful position, and in the alternative would a business leader say something strongly positive considering the Congressman’s record as measured by business interest groups is a mixed one?

California Business Roundtable president Rob Lapsley offered a neutral welcoming comment that Becerra’s “leadership and integrity in government and the community have earned him bipartisan respect.”

The National Federation of Business/California’s president Tom Scott was tougher.

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Growing the Los Angeles Economy Through Tech Entrepreneurs

Gary Toebben
President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

The story of the growth of Los Angeles and its economy is highlighted by the ingenuity and vision of entrepreneurs. During National Entrepreneurship Month, I want to share with you what the Chamber is doing to ensure that L.A. builds on its fastest growing entrepreneurial sector: technology.

Five years ago, there were few outside of L.A. who would have pointed to our region as a growing center of technology. Even as our colleges and universities were graduating more engineering students than any other region in the nation, young professionals flocked north to Silicon Valley and other tech-friendly cities. L.A. was losing out.

Today, the landscape is vastly different and L.A. possesses a vibrant tech ecosystem that is the third-largest in the nation. More than 3,600 flourishing tech companies, and a network of venture capitalists, incubators and accelerators now exist in L.A. So, how does the Chamber fit into this ecosystem?

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State Money Count Will Likely Doom Redevelopment, Housing Revival

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

Leave it to government to convolute and stupefy something as simple as basic arithmetic.  Yet, stupefying is how a reasonable person could describe a system that’s been used by Sacramento for years to account for the ebb and flow of state revenues into and out of the state treasury.  Indeed, this “new math” has led to the undoing of California’s only economic development and urban revitalization – and housing – financing tool.  It’s called redevelopment.

Only government could create an accounting (or “counting”) system whereby a net new dollar earned – even after all the bills for the year have been paid – is not considered by the state to be new or additional at all.  Instead, that dollar becomes, says the law – and, correspondingly, say the covetous bean counters at the Capitol – an obligation payable to the state.  

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Small Business Saturday a Success

John Kabateck
President of Kabateck Strategies, and former CA Executive Director of NFIB

With the holiday shopping season focused on big name companies on Black Friday and the growth of online buying, small business, rightfully called the ‘engine of the job-making economy,’ is sometimes ignored. That’s why it is satisfying to see the survey results released by the National Federation of Independent Business and American Express declaring the seventh Small Business Saturday a success.

The survey indicated that 72% of shoppers were aware of Small Business Saturday.  When shoppers visit independent local businesses those establishments thrive and that means jobs, the key to a strong economy. This year, an estimated 112 million consumers reported shopping at small businesses on Small Business Saturday, marking a 13 percent increase from 2015. Over the last month, there were 135 million social media engagements in support of Small Business Saturday, up from 85 million in 2015.

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Republicans Survive 2016

Tony Quinn
Editor, California Target Book

The great tsunami has come and gone, and of all things the California Republican Party has survived. Hillary Clinton will carry California with over 62 percent, Donald Trump will be lucky to get 32 percent when all the ballots are counted. These terrible numbers should have led to massive down ballot GOP defeats but they did not.

Legislative Democrats targeted seven Republican-held Assembly seats, spending a roughly a million dollars in each district, and won only three of their targets. They targeted two State Senate districts and narrowly won one of them. They made serious runs against three GOP Congressmen and beat none.

Essentially, all the Democrats did is to return the legislature to the partisan ratios that were in place before 2014 when Republicans picked up seats in the Assembly and Senate.

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