California Is Still No. 1 … as the worst place in America to do business, a ranking it’s held since CEO magazine
began surveying CEOs in 2005.
Not only does California’s business
climate rank worse than every other state, but California ranks far
below the national average in every category tested, from taxes to
regulations, to workplace quality to Living environment. In only one
sub-category, Arts & Culture (ranked lowest in importance to CEOs),
California surpasses the national average.
This is not new information, every few weeks we see a new poll or
survey ranking California’s business climate at or near the bottom.
Texas, on the other hand has consistently been ranked as the best place
to do business by CEO magazine. One CEO’s comment was particularly
revealing, "Texas is pro-business with reasonable regulations while
California is anti-business with anti-business regulations."
quite a reputation for a state that desperately needs a surging economy
to make up a $20 billion general fund budget deficit, close a $500
billion public pension fund deficit, reduce a 12.6% unemployment rate
and deal with a persistent $6 billion annual fund imbalance.
Well, if the state is doing badly, surely there must be positive signs
of economic recovery in some of California’s world class cities and
counties. Not so fast. While much of the nation is beginning to show
signs of recovery, California is still trying to find the bottom. Two
recent reports shed light on the economic growth potential for
California’s regional economies.
In March, the AP Stress Index
ranked all 3,086 counties in the U.S. on the impact of the current
recession and potential recovery. Not a single California county made
the top 20 list of least stressed counties, but 11 California counties
we’re included in the 20 most stressed ranking.
Even more disturbing is a new ranking of the 2010 Best U.S. Cities
for job growth by newgeography.com.
The study ranks the nation’s 397
SMSAs (Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area) on current, mid-term and
long-term employment growth rates. The only two California SMSAs to
make the top 100 are Hanford-Corcoran and Medera-Chowchilla. The
second rank of 100 SMSAs include El Centro and Bakersfield-Delano. The
first large California city on the list is San Francisco-San
Mateo-Redwood City ranked at 271. San Francisco (271) is followed by
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara-Carlsbad (297), San Diego-San Marcos
(299), Sacramento-Roseville (322), Los Angeles-Long Beach (352), Santa
Ana-Anaheim (353) and Riverside-San Bernardino (359).
Joel Kotkin opines on the findings in an article in Forbes Magazine titled The Worst Cities for Jobs.
Kotkin writes, "And then there is California, which by all rights
should be leading, not lagging, the current recovery. Statewide
unemployment, already at 12.6%, has been rising while most states have
experienced a slight drop. Silicon Valley Companies, Hollywood and the
basic agricultural base of the state remain world-beaters. But the
problem lies largely in an extremely complex regulatory regime that
leads companies to shift much of their new production and staffing to
other states, as well as foreign countries. The constant prospect of a
state bankruptcy, in large part due to soaring public employee pension
obligations, does not do much to inspire confidence among either local
entrepreneurs or investors."
Kotkin concludes, "Hopefully, this will be the year when Californians
decide that it needs an economy that provides opportunities to people
other than software billionaires, movie moguls and their servants. It
will have to include much more than the endlessly hyped, highly
subsidized "green jobs.’
More than anything, it will take rolling back
some of the draconian regulations – particularly around climate change
legislation – that force companies, and jobs, to go to places that,
while not as intrinsically attractive, are far friendlier to job