SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California is the fifth largest economy in the entire world - ahead of even the UK - and yet it’s under attack from a group of people from Arizona trying to poach workers, jobs and companies.
Leaders here in Sacramento are saying — "Not on our watch!"
The group is the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. Their message is that California struggles are real and Arizona wants your business.
Twenty-four vehicles wrapped with a billboard that says “#CAStruggles are REAL!” will flood Silicon Valley for the next three months.
Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council (GSEC), said many states, as well as Canada, have made plays for California businesses.
"I mean, yeah, Justin Trudeau. You had the Prime Minister from Canada come down to Silicon Valley about six months ago,” Broome told ABC10. “There are 15 states that in their strategic plan as a state, it includes taking industry out of California."
Arizona joins states including Texas, Utah, Colorado and Florida in trying to come and poach California businesses and workers.
"We ought to be challenging other states when they come into our state,” Broome said. “This is something that is really a slap in the face to California. I mean, it really is the equivalent of somebody spitting in your face, that they think that you don’t have the ability to step up for yourself.”
He said they play on the notion that California is anti-business, which isn’t entirely undeserved.
“I think we have really done a disservice to the families of California who lose their job in these poaching attacks from Texas or Arizona or Utah by saying, ‘Oh, you know, we’re above standing up and fighting for those jobs,’ or, ‘We’re too high-end to worry about these employers like McKesson moving their headquarters to Dallas, which was the fourth most profitable company in California, by the way,” Broome said.
California has lost 10% of its Fortune 500 headquarters in the last few years, Broome said.
The Arizona group wants people to complain about California on social media using the hashtag #CAStruggles, so GSEC is encouraging people to use that hashtag -- plus #CAforAll -- to talk about what's good about California.
ABC10 asked people on Facebook—what's the best part about living in California?
“Being able to go to the beach or mountains in just a few hours!!” Suzan Peden Meyer said. “The weather is pretty nice most of the time too!!”
“The weather..the ocean and the glorious sunsets,” Debbie Ockey said. “The diversity of the people and the accepting nature of everyone for the most part...the food, every type of ethnic food imaginable.”
“If you live in the central areas, in a half day drive you can go to the bay, go ski, go to the beach, go to disney etc. It's like three states in one,” Elissa Blanco said. “Diverse food options, for all kinds of cultures etc. All the fresh fruits and veggies.”
BUT, BUT, BUT not everybody’s comment was pro-California.
Irene Celedon said her favorite thing about California is “nothing... anymore. Way over it and way overrated for weather vs. cost of living.”
“If I could afford to move I would,” Helen Amey said. “ To [sic] expensive which makes it hard to save when you live paycheck to paycheck.”
“California has awesome mountains and ocean beaches. But after living here my entire life, 65 years, Leaving California is the best part!” Vickie Mounts said.
Broome wants to change the narrative.
"We do have the best higher education system in the world. We do have the most sophisticated capital market in the world,” he said. “And, quite honestly, we probably have the strongest economy in the world."
He wants people to think of California's business climate in terms of its booming productivity and profitability.
His message is: GAME. ON. ARIZONA.
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