Viewing blog posts written by Gino DiCaro


California Needs a Fresh Start

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on March 7, 2008

As I cleaned out 12 years of clutter from my office this week in preparation for CMTA's big March 28 move to a stone's throw from the Capitol, one thing came to mind -- California and I need a fresh start.  The move will take care of my itch, but I have a few things the State should consider as a refresher for it's own house.  Among the detritus of a decade's worth of paper, press releases, issues archives, pesky "to do" lists, reports, and un-expensed receipts, I came across three very worthy items that deserve California's attention.

The first was a 1998 5-pound notebook from the now defunct California Trade and Commerce Agency titled, The California Location Book -- a book created to give corporations every reason to grow in the state.   (see table of contents)

The second was a study done in 2006, titled Manufacturing Prosperity Initiative, proving the decline in wages and requesting the reinvigoration of the Jerry Brown instigated -- but never implemented -- California Commission for Industrial Innovation. (see letter / summary)

The third was a 2004 Proclamation by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to "Reaffirm California's commitment to the success of our manufacturing industry."  (see Proclamation)

The recruitment tool, the original Commission (and the 2006 request), and the Proclamation were meant to be important cylinders in the engine of high wage manufacturing growth and certainty in California.  All are lifeless.  All need a fresh start.

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First the fact that there is no California recruitment agency (AKA someone accountable for the loss of 400,000 lost manufacturing jobs) charged with the State's economic security as it pertains to our biggest wealth creator is at the least, worrisome, at the worst, negligent (See Tesla Motors ... Buck Knives ... Intel's wafer fab ... Oregon's new solar cluster).  The Local Economic Development agencies are doing yeoman's work at the local level -- and usually understaffed -- but we need a statewide organization that can lead, oversee, track, market and advocate.  If we had one, they'd be diligently working on new recruitment tools, much like the 300-page brochure unearthed in my office this week, and making a case for competitive tax incentives and some degree of certainty in policies affecting job creators.

While corporate decisions aren't made on recruitment books and marketing materials, the absence of such things means no one is asking what incentives to market. (Granted, the Gov. has done his own sporadic marketing in between governing the largest state in the union)

Second, the Manufacturing Prosperity Initiaitive proved the State is slouching toward a service-sector economy.  Most importantly showing data on the growing sectors versus declining sectors:  growing sectors average wages were $15,000 less than the declining sectors.  CMTA updated these numbers to reflect 2001 to 2006 data.  The difference increased to $26,000.  (see chart)

Third, the Legislature and Governor, in these times of budgetary debate, need to once again affirm that manufacturing and the always-to-follow R&D jobs are the lifeblood of Californians -- not to mention new global warming innovations -- and provide the much needed revenue and growth needed to help pull the State out of it's $16 billion deficit.


March 28 is my fresh start.  I'll be at our new digs at 1115 11th Street working on California's fresh start.





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