Steven Frisch, Sierra Business Council CEO, has put forth some ideas on how to improve the California economy at the Sierra Foothills Report, where they are being discussed by Nevada County Liberals and others. Since most of the people who read this blog do not venture into liberal land very often, I decided to post Mr Frisch's ideas here for discussion. I have put my comments in [Brackets]. Please post your thought on these ideas in the Comments.
Things we could do to improve California’s economy:
1) Establish an office of Economic Development to coordinate policy to encourage new business growth, within either the Governor’s office or the California Department of Business, Transportation and Housing. [We used to have one, it was called Trade and Commerce, until Arnold decided we did not need an economic development agency in California. It was through the T and A Rural Development Project that the ERC competed for and won broadband grants totaling $245K. Yes, bring back Trade and Commerce, with a mission to have broadband in every home in California that wants it. ]
2) Encourage regional economic development planning that is based on the natural subregions of the state that have economies based on geographic, demographic and economic similarities, such as Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, the Inland Empire, the Central Valley, the Sierra Nevada, etc.
[I agree that each region has uniques needs and opportunities that should be nurtured.]
3) Adopt policies that create a more stable governance structure with predictable revenue and costs, such as multiple-year budgeting, performance based budgeting and an increased level of local control. [ I like the performance based part of the this proposal. That is something we have not had in government. We have hundreds of agencies with no performance measurements. The Apple Center was one classic example of federal grant funding with no performance measurements.]
4) Adopt a sane regulatory reform process that reviews, adjusts and/or eliminates regulatory policies that are not working, while respecting the core needs that the policy was adopted to address. [Agree]
5) Increase investment in California’s critical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, water systems, energy networks, mass transit, etc. [Missing from this list is broadband. Broadband and work from home programs have done more to reduce traffic congestion and CO2 than all the transit spending in Sacramento. Spending money on mass transit has not produced the desired results, people are still driving to work, as we have pointed out on this blog many times. Building more transit is a waste of money, while building more broadband generates jobs and tax revenue.
6) Allow California corporations to calculate ‘wealth’ using a triple bottom line accounting system, measuring improvements in social and natural capital, along with final capital, so shareholders can hold corporations accountable but corporations are not held liable for not maximizing financial capital. [ I am sorry, but the stock holders could care less about the social and natural capital, they are only interested in in the real capital. We are not going to have a social capital stock market or a natural capital stock market. People buy stocks for one reason, to build wealth and they cannot spend the social and natural capital to buy food and energy.
7) Return control of non-essential state functions that can be more efficiently served at the local level to local government. [ I agree, right on!]
8 ) Reform the California Environmental Control Act to allow for streamlined permitting of projects that meet multiple local and state objectives. [ I agree, but do you really think the the left is going to give up their power structure for black mailing cooperation and local developers? ]
9) Improve California’s vocational and secondary education system to better prepare young people for entry-level jobs, particularly with dramatic improvements in math, technical, engineering and science education. [To do what? I agree we need to improve math and science education at the secondary level as many students cannot cannot pass the college entry exams. If your are not going to college in engineering or science, your are going to get a government job. Those are not wealth creating jobs, they are wealth consuming jobs.]
10) Invest heavily in renewable, distributed, and locally generated energy. [Hogwash! Solar and wind farms are becoming a blight on the land scape and are not producing the forecast levels of energy. Now, if we are talking nuclear pebble bed neighborhood power plants, we may have something here. If that is the case, then we need a lot more nuclear engineers.]
11) Create local pools of capital for local business investment through community supported banks. [This assumes that local communities have individuals with local capital to invest. ]
I have not covered all the bases, and not all the issues. I think we all would like to improve the California economy. Please comment on these ideas and my critique in the comments section.