The California Prosperity Project – Assessing California’s economic performance
From Senator George Runner
From the start, California has enjoyed unique natural economic advantages over other states, from its regional location and deep sea ports to its temperate weather and year-round fertile agricultural land. Our world class university system, cutting edge research and development centers, and an ample, willing and able workforce would also seem to point to boundless success for the Golden State. With all of these advantages then, why has California lost its luster?
Recently, the Pacific Research Institute released the initial installment of the California Prosperity Project, a series of policy papers intended to bring to light the legislative reforms needed to make California “Golden” again. The first paper, Assessing the State of the Golden State, analyzes California’s economic performance over the last five years compared to the rest of the nation using four criteria: income, labor, migration and entrepreneurship.
The numbers don’t lie; the state’s economic performance is mediocre at best. California ranked 24th in the income category, 48th in labor, 44th in migration, and 16th in entrepreneurship. Overall, California ranked 38th out of 50 – a far cry from the state’s glory years as an international economic engine. Given our built-in advantages, Californian’s should expect better results.
A disturbing aspect of this sobering study is that it did not include data from 2009, when our economy really took a nosedive. If it had, California most certainly would have faired much worse than 38th.
California has historically been looked upon as a beacon of opportunity. It wasn’t that long ago when California would not have been mentioned in the same breath economically as Mississippi. Today, we are economic peers.
There is a silver lining in all of this bad news: It’s not permanent. California can and must reverse the ill advised economic and regulatory policies of its past and pursue policies that encourage growth and job creation. Future installments of the California Prosperity Project will dig deeper into these failed policies and highlight what reforms are needed to restore California back to its golden age. I’ll be sure to share their recommendations with you.