Earlier today Green Chamber’s CEO, David Steel, sent a feisty rebuttal in reply to a conservative editorial called Top Ten Reasons Why Companies Are Leaving California. We don’t take kindly to folks dissing The Golden State, and shamelessly applaud David’s positive pin on California commerce, which stands to reap billions in economic and environmental benefits from the new Cap and Trade program.
Polluters and their friends have made a blood sport out of knocking California’s economy and regulatory climate. Yet study after study from the Public Policy Institute of California about business relocations debunk the myths being repeated by the conservative propaganda machine.
The truth is that California employs more Americans and has more businesses than any other state, and is fertile ground for innovation. According to the PPIC and other independent studies, the state’s pioneering laws to protect our air and water, not to mention access to skilled labor and a superior quality of life, are what continue to draw and keep businesses here.
With that, here’s a Top 10 list of why California continues to dominate America’s business sector.
1. The Hub of High Tech —- America’s fastest-growing business sector is the technology industry. California has more high-tech jobs than any other state, with 931,000 people employed in high-paying jobs. The next closest states are Texas with 492,000 and New York with 312,000.
2. Small Business Heaven —- California’s 3.5 million small businesses account for 99 percent of the state’s employers and employ 52 percent of the workforce.
3. A Progressive and Dynamic Economy —- California is one of the top 10 states in the areas of high-wage services and fastest-growing companies. It also is home to 53 of the U.S. Fortune 500 companies. While technology gets the headlines, California is the No. 1 state for agriculture revenues with $34.8 billion, representing 12.3 percent of the U.S. total.
4. The Innovation Marketplace —- Since 1963 (when patent records were established), 432,404 patents have originated in California. That represents 17 percent of all the patents issued in the history of the U.S. and more than twice the number originating from the next closest state.
5. Where the Dollars Are —- California is the No.1 state for venture capital, receiving four times more venture capital than the nation’s average. Last year, California received 51.3 percent of all venture capital invested in the U.S. —- far more than any other state.
6. A Magnet for International Commerce —- California ranks No. 1 for attracting foreign direct investment. Foreign companies employ nearly 561,000 California workers and were responsible for 4.6 percent of the state’s total private-industry employment in 2009.
7. Location, Location, Location —- California’s Pacific Rim location is the base of the largest trade network in the world, giving businesses access to the global economy. California’s export shipments of merchandise in 2011 totaled $159.4 billion, a 25 percent increase over 2009, and returning California’s export totals to pre-recession levels.
8. Start Me Up —- In 2011, California was home to 36.3 percent of the nation’s startups (compare that with just 4.87 percent in Texas). That is a 123.76 percent increase from 2010 —- nearly six times the U.S. average.
9. The Home of the Clean Energy Economy —- California attracted more clean energy venture capital dollars in 2011 than all the other 49 states combined.
10. The Best Place to Live in America —- period.