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Policy and a Pint: Should California Make It Easier to Do Business Here?

February 26 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm


Sacramento has had it tough lately. Besides being left hanging in its bid for a Major League Soccer team, it didn’t make the second cut of cities that submitted a bid to be home to Amazon’s second headquarters (Los Angeles is the only California city left in the running). Apple recently announced it also wants to build a second big campus – will it build it in the Central Valley, which is pretty close to its Cupertino headquarters? Don’t hold your breath.

Yes, we’re the 5th or 6th largest economy in the world, depending on the data that month. However, California is routinely given poor marks as a place to run a business. We’re home to Facebook, Google, Airbnb and Hollywood, but businesses of all types and sizes are heading east. Middle-class workers who can’t afford housing here are following them in U-Hauls headed out of state. And that may have a bad long-term effect on California’s job growth and economy overall.

Barry Broome, CEO of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council, is tasked with getting big businesses to move to Sacramento (he’s one of our panelists), and he has been very vocal about how tough it is, saying state policies are not serving Central Valley cities like Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto and Fresno in their efforts to attract new employers.

“There is nothing funny about California’s 19,000 regulations or California’s workers’ compensation laws,” he told the Sacramento Business Journal. “What we need is a state economic development program to be able to compete for this . . . I can guarantee you that governors from Arizona, Texas, Nevada and Colorado can be prepared to make Apple’s life a lot easier if they move to their state. They have the ability to be business friendly.”

Should California do a better job in being business-friendly and keeping companies here? And if so, what actions should Jerry Brown, our next governor, the state legislature, local governments and the for-profit sector take?

We’ll look at the policy and politics of doing business in California, and what’s needed — if anything — to keep our state as the 5th-6th largest economy in the world, and growing.


We’ll have beer and wine on tap, and ideally finger foods if we can get a sponsor.