Progress Review: An Economic Growth and Competitiveness Agenda For California

Five years after Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom published California's first statewide economic plan in over 10 years, a new review has found that over 75-percent of the original recommendations were implemented or partially implemented. The Progress Review, released Wednesday, also recognizes the leadership of Governor Brown and legislative leaders in steering the California comeback while sounding a cautionary note on current inequalities and future economic challenges facing the state.

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"I don't think it's hyperbole to say that California was staring into an economic abyss during the winter of 2010, without a blueprint for escape. Governor Brown and the legislature deserve enormous credit for bringing California back from the brink," said Lt. Governor Newsom, who also chairs the state's Commission for Economic Development. "But we cannot stop planning. Our nearly 250-year-old system is in flux as rapid technological evolution coupled with accelerated globalization has led to a world of profound contrasts and inequalities, and I aim to address these challenges in a future economic plan."

Lt. Governor Newsom's "2011 Economic Growth and Competitiveness Agenda for California" laid out thirty-five recommendations in eight core areas. Of the original recommendations, twenty-seven (or 77-percent) were implemented or partially implemented. Highlights include the creation of the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), the state's active participation in trade promotion, establishing a federal patent office in California, Enterprize Zone reforms, and career-technical education grants.

"This Report is an important reminder that California has made tremendous progress and that our economy is strong," said Kish Rajan, president of the Southern California Leadership Council. "Yet we also face the challenge of extending new opportunities to all reaches of our state. So let us also use this report as inspiration to continue the work."

The Progress Review published today delves back into the economic uncertainty faced by California in 2011. Lt. Governor Newsom's 2011 economic strategy was the first of its kind in over a decade and received critical acclaim from economic groups and elected leaders from both major political parties.

"As a leader in the California Economic Summit, Lt. Governor Newsom has championed regions-driven and triple-bottom-line strategies for advancing shared prosperity," said Lenny Mendonca, co-chair of California Forward's Leadership Council. "With his active encouragement, California Forward and its partners in the Summit have built a strong network for collective action to bolster workforce development and infrastructure investments, to develop comprehensive solutions to the housing and water crises. Through it all, the Lt. Governor has advocated for aligning state actions with community and regional needs to increase opportunity for all Californians."

In the "Progress Review", however, Lt. Governor Newsom cautions that "for too many, the economic recovery has become a spectator sport" creating socio-economic disparities that divide not only coastal and inland economies, but coastal metropolitan communities too. In committing to address these challenges, Lt. Governor Newsom also describes "a hinge-moment in history that is rapidly changing how we go about business and government" and the need to address trends shaping the new economy that threaten to upend our existing economic system.

"The state has experienced tremendous economic gains since 2011 and the actions taken as a result Lt. Gov. Newsom's Growth and Competitiveness Agenda have helped fuel this progress," said Dr. Micah Weinberg, president of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. "As this update points out, these gains have not been evenly spread across the communities of the state so we need to continue to do more to promote shared prosperity and addressing rising rates of poverty which exist even in some of our most affluent communities."

The "Progress Review" follows Lt. Governor Newsom's "Pathways Report" that offered fifty-eight recommendations to help the state prepare for the possibility of marijuana legalization for adult recreational use. Like Lt. Governor Newsom's 2011 economic plan, the recommendations within the Pathways Report have been overwhelmingly adopted by for action.