Now FL Gov. targets CA businesses

June 5, 2013

Rick Scott, Florida governorBy Joseph Perkins

First came Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Then Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. Now Florida Gov. Rick Scott is taking aim at California, reportedly considering leasing billboard space in selected markets here in the Golden State to take their businesses to the Sunshine State.

“I’m working on putting up a billboard out there that has Jerry Brown’s picture and mine,” said Florida’s follicly challenged governor, at a meeting last week of his state GOP. “It’s going to say,” he half-jested, “‘Same haircut, no income taxes. Number One in teacher quality. Move to Florida.’”

Back here on the Left Coast, the Brown administration was not amused. “The way you build a dynamic economy like California isn’t by running around trying to poach other states,” Riley Ray Robbins, deputy director of communications for the governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), told a Florida newspaper.

Gov. Scott, the former CEO of Columbia/HCA, which he grew into the world’s largest health care provider, begs to differ with Mr. Robbins. “We compete with 49 other states,” he said. “They want more jobs in their state. I want them here. I’m out recruiting every day to get people to come to our state.”

California is a ripe target for Gov. Scott and, before him, fellow Govs. Perry, Herbert and McDonnell. Not just because California boasts some 53 Fortune 500 companies, including such well-known brands as Google, Apple, Facebook, eBay, Helwett-Packard and Visa, but also because of perception that the Golden State is not especially hospitable to business.

“Thank goodness for California,” said Scott, noting that the Golden State recently raised its income taxes, while continuing to have the nation’s fourth-highest jobless rate.

No income tax, more jobs

By comparison, the Sunshine State has no income tax. And its jobless rate is nearly two percentage point lower than California’s. “Unlike Florida,” said Gov. Scott, “it is clear California does not have a climate for business to succeed.”

Now, it’s unlikely that the letter writing campaign Gov. Scott launched last month targeting an unspecified number of California businesses will lure any of the aforementioned Fortune 500 companies to Florida.

But it is entirely possible that some of those California companies, as well as some of the state’s smaller, but fast-growing companies, will expand their operations not here in Golden State, where they are headquartered, but in states like Florida, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

The way to defend the state against poaching of its homegrown companies is not with trash talk, at which Mr. Robbins appears adept, but by Gov. Brown and the Legislature taking meaningful steps to improve the state’s business climate.

That means reducing California’s corporate taxes, the nation’s third-most onerous, according to the Tax Foundation, not to the nation’s lowest, but at least somewhere closer to middle.

It also means rolling back the state’s excessive regulations which, according to a report by two Cal State Sacramento researchers, cost the average small business nearly $135,000 (as of 2007), while reducing statewide employment by 3.8 million jobs.

California is coasting on the reputation it once enjoyed as a great state in which do business. Until it re-earns that reputation, rival states will continue to aggressively woo California businesses.


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  1. loufca
    loufca 5 June, 2013, 06:52

    One of my clients in the Health and Wellness field has been HQed in Marin County for the past 2 years. They are moving to Florida within the next 60 days. It’s not a big company, yet, but give it a few years. Those in Sacto continue to bury their heads in the sand and rely on the climate to keep companies here. Dumb, really dumb.

    Reply this comment
  2. Sean Morham
    Sean Morham 5 June, 2013, 07:28

    Yes, ther are companies in health food products whose founders were Berkley or Stanford grads tht started business in Cal, but have since relocated to Fla. A fact of life.

    Reply this comment
  3. scoutmom
    scoutmom 5 June, 2013, 08:00

    I am in the IT field. I personally know 3 people at 3 different, large companies that have moved their IT departments to FL. The rest of the company is moving there eventually too. But, they moved the IT departments first because they were naturally more mobile and could still service the majority of company needs remotely. These are the kind of high paying, highly technical jobs we want to keep here in SD/CA.

    Out of my 3 friends, one moved to FL, one has found a new position, but he had to take a pay cut and a title demotion to be employed, and the last one has now been unemployed for 18 months.

    San Diego’s has had a fantastic growth over the last 20 years (it doesn’t look anything like what I grew up in as a child), and a large part of that growth is attributed to the technical, communication, and life sciences fields that have made their homes here. Deplete the technical base of jobs here in San Diego, and you will see San Diego in a recession unlike any we have seen before.

    Reply this comment
  4. Ulysses
    Ulysses 5 June, 2013, 08:25

    Please give a faithful, loyal, thoughtful and caring fellow goom..bye..ahhh poster some referrals.

    Pack and Ship!

    Reply this comment
  5. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 5 June, 2013, 10:32

    Scott has to do something he can brag about, at least a little bit. Otherwise he’s on a direct line to leave office next year when Florida voters kick him in the backside.

    Reply this comment
  6. us citizen
    us citizen 5 June, 2013, 11:15

    Baahahahaha……Brown doesnt like it?!! Well all’s fair in love and war or taxes and jobs……Brown. Dont go whining about things being unfair. Because its a lot of YOUR fault, that CA sucks.

    Reply this comment
  7. stolson
    stolson 6 June, 2013, 18:39

    Interesting the post on IT specialists leaving with their company. I do know once well paid workers having to leave to find work due to downsizing here, and some for lower cost of living. Silicon Valley is still producing leaders in electronics and data related activities. Stanford grads still do well here in CA. I surmise it is the mid sized and smaller firms suffering the most.
    I really see a decline in the middle class and to have mainly coastal elites and the inland empire with its govt workers, the unemployed and govt dependents (social services) as a base to be limiting for a tax base to keep the state afloat.

    Reply this comment
  8. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 6 June, 2013, 19:56

    The grey market economy is huge in California….it is the economy!

    Reply this comment

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Joseph PerkinsRick ScottFloridaJerry Brown

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