With two years of dealing with nothing but the broken state budget behind him, for now, Governor Brown at long last has shifted his attention to economic development.

Leading a small army of state bureaucrats and business leaders on a long march through China, the Governor has declared his single focus is on economic issues: “We’re from California. We’re not interested in politics. We’re interested in business.

And right on cue, the Governor announced early in the trip a massive investment by Chinese financiers in an ambitious waterfront development project in Oakland – one that’s been in the works since Brown was mayor a dozen years ago.

The Governor’s drum-beating for California is happening not a moment too soon. As the national economy recovers and businesses accelerate expansion plans, the competition for new development is becoming more intense.

New York state has an ambitious campaign, including TV ads, promoting the state as a friendly place to do business, including tax cuts and incentives.

The Governors of Utah and Virginia have teamed up to jointly visit several California cities to troll for new business.

Meanwhile, California officials play defense when out of state. In China, Governor Brown “lamented” litigation and other obstacles to business in California, “We’ve got more damn laws than you can think of … To the extent you have any red tape, there’s no one more anxious to reduce it,” he said.

Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg also faced tough questioning on California’s regulatory climate when helping pitch the NBA that Sacramento can expeditiously build an adequate arena to retain the Sacramento Kings. He told owners that the state is prepared “to do whatever it takes to avoid unnecessary delay.”

Good for the Governor and good for Senator Steinberg for taking the message out of state that California means business. I hope they and other leaders continue these efforts, because direct interest from the highest level of state government makes a real difference in luring new business expansions.

And they should also take to heart the consistent message that outsiders are delivering to government officials: trim the regulatory underbrush or we won’t build in California.

Follow Loren on Twitter: @KayeLoren