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Breakfast with the San Diego Press Club: Why the “rivalry” with Texas isn’t much of a rivalry

February 28, 2013

If you ask most U.S. sports fans to identify the fiercest rivalry in professional sports, many would quickly say, “Yankees and Red Sox.” Fans for both teams are incredibly loyal, united both in their regional pride and mutual distaste for the competition. But when you look closer at the actual numbers, it isn’t really a rivalry at all…in the past century, New York has clenched 27 World Series compared to four for Boston.

As a native Bostonian (side note: he now considers himself a proud San Diegan), Mark made it clear today at a breakfast forum hosted by the San Diego Press Club that this is very similar to California’s “rivalry” with Texas. In this scenario, California is the New York of job creation. Although both sides may have loyal contenders, when you look at the success Texas has had poaching jobs from the Golden State, there is no comparison. The numbers speak for themselves. California is leading the nation in private sector job creation. It is No. 1 in biotech, agriculture, high tech, entertainment and tourism.

As California and San Diego continue to face criticism from out-of-state politicians, the press and others for its “anti-business” policies, we must remember one critical fact. Time and time again, studies have shown that short-term economic incentives do nothing for long-term job growth. Yes, it’s fair to say that California could benefit from more business-friendly policies, but in San Diego, our traded economies –– military, tourism and innovation – are anchors for our growing economy.

All of that said, Mark told s crowd of about 40 local business leaders today, it’s not Gov. Perry’s $24K media buy that worries us, but some actual reforms/legislation (or lack thereof) that does:

●     TMD controversy— Removing ourselves from the legal side of this battle, we are looking at the sheer importance of these dollars for regional economic development. San Diego’s tourism industry is responsible for $18.3 billion in economic impact and employs 160,000 San Diegans. In 1993, Colorado eliminated its TMD, resulting in a 30 percent drop in its share of the U.S. travel market over four years.

●     Enterprise Zone Reforms—Although poaching jobs from other states and grandiose economic incentives don’t help long term growth, the EZ is a powerful growth tool for California helping companies like Soitec and the Wheat Group.

●     Sequestration/ Military Cuts—With the highest concentration of military in the world and 60 percent of California’s military assets, sequestration will be a devastating blow to San Diego’s economy, with approximately 30,000 jobs at stake. Many people also don’t realize the impact it would have on the high-tech and life sciences industries as well.

As Mark told the Press Club at the New School of Architecture + Design, at San Diego Regional EDC, our job is to attract, retain and expand businesses in the region. Everything we do, whether it’s advocating for certain policies or implementing strategic programs, is to grow jobs across the region.

And create jobs we do! In 2012, San Diego Regional EDC worked on 175 projects, creating 8,550 jobs in the region.

In addition to releasing the job numbers today, Mark stressed that San Diego needs to do more promoting and less comparing. Too often, San Diegans get caught up in comparisons with New York, Chicago, San Francisco and other great cities instead of focusing on the fact that San Diego is one of the very best places in the world for families and businesses.

He closed with one wish for San Diego: “gaining a little bit of confidence and whole lot of swagger.”


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