What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about California’s economy? If it’s the high unemployment numbers or the budget deficits in Sacramento, you are not alone. But it’s also true that California, in spite of its problems, remains one of the ten biggest economies in the world and America’s leader in categories like industrial research and development and attracting foreign direct investment.

California cannot allow the past few years of recession to threaten our state’s economic standing on the world stage. We must do everything we can to make sure our state remains an attractive place for economic innovation.

That is why Governor Schwarzenegger is today announcing the launch of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. By creating this new office, the Governor is letting it be known that California will become an even better place for doing business once we do away with some current layers of bureaucracy and streamline economic operations.

Today’s announcement comes after the Little Hoover Commission issued a report last month called “Making Up for Lost Ground: Creating a Governor’s Office of Economic Development.” In their report, the Little Hoover Commission highlighted the problems with not having an entity to speak authoritatively on the state’s economic agenda. The report said a strong governor’s vision can guide economic growth, and an Office of Economic Development can centralize core functions and spark increased economic activity. Governor Schwarzenegger agreed with the Commission’s findings and established this office by Executive Order.

I will be the director of GoED, and I will do everything I can to carry out the Governor’s vision of leveraging our state’s resources to benefit anyone who wants to start a new business in our state or keep an existing one here. It’s time to jumpstart the economy, and we cannot waste any opportunities to create jobs, increase revenues, or raise California’s standard of living.

This will not be just a toothless commission for show. The GoED will stimulate the economy through a combination of strategies, including new development and partnerships with the private sector as well as with community, local, and national organizations. Most importantly, GoED has already pulled together all the state entities that have a role in economic development and is synchronizing them together to improve communication and efficiency. Our team includes California Business Investment Services, the Office of the Small Business Advocate and Innovation Hubs (iHubs).

As we move forward, GoED will work aggressively with businesspeople, educators, investors, and others to create the arrangements and partnerships that will make California stand out to the rest of the world for years to come as an example of a place where businesses can flourish.

To learn more about GoED, you can visit our website at www.business.ca.gov. We will make Business.CA.Gov a useful resource for businesses, with information about topics like obtaining permits, regulations, and site certification.

The current recession has made it essential that California works even harder to maintain its record of economic achievement, and that is what today’s announcement is all about.