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Welcome Mat Is Out Again for Business in California

February 16, 1986

The article, "State Seen Lagging in Race for Business Development," (Jan. 22) reported on Committee for Economic Development President Robert Holland's speech before Town Hall, which contained several misconceptions.

Holland's basic message is that California's economic picture is bright although we face two "substantial handicaps": an anti-business image and the notion that we are resistant to change.

The Deukmejian Administration has put yeoman effort into improving the state's business climate, which we admit was very poor prior to 1983. A measure of our success is a recent survey of major business leaders in which 73% responded that our business climate is improving and 77% find California a positive location for business expansion. This is up dramatically from a similar survey we took when the Administration first came into office.

A further sign of the improved business climate is the fact that nearly 1,300 companies have located or expanded operations in California since 1983. We have the best trained work force in the country and have increased spending for education so that it now accounts for 53% of the General Fund budget. The governor has proposed even higher education spending for this year.

Far from resistance to change, we have welcomed the continued growth of our state, and are making special efforts to encourage business expansions in the rural and less developed parts of the state where in many cases unemployment is high. We have restored the traditional, pro-entrepreneurial climate in California, as evidenced by the fact that a fifth of America's fastest-growing entrepreneurial firms are found here. Inc., the magazine of new businesses, found last year that we have the best climate for small business of any state in the nation.

The welcome mat is out for business in California and we intend to keep it out.

CHRISTY CAMPBELL WALTERS

Director, California Department of Commerce

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