By Assemblymember Marie Waldron
Though California is the world’s 5th largest economy, we must expand economic prosperity. With over 20% of our population living below the poverty line, we have the nation’s highest poverty rate. Our skilled labor shortage means that high-paying jobs often go unfilled and our job creation infrastructure, including career tech education, is lacking.
Bi-partisan legislation, Assembly Bill 2596, will require the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GoBiz) to produce an Economic Development Strategic Action Plan for California by January 10, 2020.
Obviously, top-down economic planning doesn’t work. Any economic development plan for a state as large and diverse as California must be tailored to fit vastly different regions to stimulate statewide and regional economic growth while preserving local control and community character. For that reason, AB 2596 requires input from the general public, stakeholders and policymakers to identify dominant and emerging industry sectors, regionally and throughout California. The leading economic sectors in North San Diego County include the life sciences, innovation industry, including high-tech, engineering, research and manufacturing, the military, tourism, education, agriculture and more.
By creating a diversified plan with a prioritized list of short and long-term economic goals, California will create increased opportunities for business development and expansion that will generate high-paying jobs, increase overall prosperity, and reduce the unacceptable number of people living in poverty. Of course burdensome regulations, taxes and fees must be reduced to make us competitive as a state. Training an innovative and skilled workforce must also be a priority.
I’m happy to report AB 2596 passed the Assembly in a unanimous vote on May 31st. If enacted, California will join a growing list of states creating economic development plans and taking concrete steps to stimulate their economies and ensure prosperity for their citizens.
Minority Floor Leader Marie Waldron, R-Escondido, represents the 75th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Bonsall, Escondido, Fallbrook, Hidden Meadows, Pala, Palomar Mountain, Pauma Valley, Rainbow, San Marcos, Temecula, Valley Center and Vista.