California – The Land of (Missed) Opportunity

Dustin Steiner Dustin Steiner Leave a Comment


Ten years ago Apple was worth $10 billion dollars.  Today, the world’s most valuable company boasts a worth of $600 billion.  This kind of incredible growth in such a short period of time can only happen in America.  In addition, these numbers speak nothing of the revolutionary advances Apple has made to the way we do business and the improvement to the quality of life for people all over the world.  Lucky for us, Apple just happens to be headquartered in California – a fact that may be fleeting.  Apple will soon build a $304 million facility and add 3,600 jobs in Austin, Texas.

Modern day California was largely settled during the gold rush.  Pioneers flocked here hoping to strike it rich using our natural resources.  Over the years, we have developed industry nodes such as Hollywood, the Silicon Valley and the Biotech Beach in San Diego.  For decades, our state has lured innovators and job creators looking to earn their spot among giants like Hewlett-Packard, Qualcomm, Google and Genentech.   As a student at Harvard, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg knew he had to relocate to California to take advantage of the economies of scale of talent in the Bay Area.  He understood, as many before him that there is a tremendous benefit to being co-located with similar industry and like minds.  In San Diego alone, we have renowned research centers such as the University of California, San Diego and the Salk Institute.  We have booming life science, high-tech and biotech industries that thrive by being close together.

Unfortunately, instead of encouraging this type of growth, Sacramento punishes this success with ever-increasing regulation and higher taxes.  Today our legislature sits like a degenerate gambler betting our future on ‘red’ while the roulette wheel of new opportunities spins out of control on ‘black’.  We can no longer wait for the Facebooks of the future to go public to balance our budget.  Nor should we continue to propose tax increases in hopes of scaring the voters into finally approving one.

Fifty years ago, California lured my grandparents to leave everything they’d ever known for an opportunity in the Golden State.  In a bit of irony, my maternal grandparents actually moved from Texas to California in search of a better job and a brighter future.  I was born, raised and educated in this state and now I am raising my family here.  I love California and want to see it succeed.  But, soon I will be an orphan in my home state.  The high cost of living has driven my 3 siblings to seek opportunities elsewhere.  This summer, my mom, who will retire as a public school teacher, will take my dad and her pension earned and paid for in the state of California, and spend it in Nevada.  Sadly, their story is not uncommon or unique.

Throughout our state, we see ghost towns that remind us of what happened when the gold ran dry and the settlers moved on.  We still have a chance.  California is a hotbed for innovation and technology, but without changes that reverse the anti-business trend, our grandchildren will one day look at the Silicon Valley and see a dustbowl of empty buildings and memories of a once-thriving economy.


This article originally appeared on Thursday’s FlashReport



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