California: Invasion of the job-snatchers

Ah, competition; drink it in, it always goes down smooth. If, as California maintains, businesses will not react negatively to recent increases in all sorts of taxes, the requirements of their state’s cap-and-trade program, and other upcoming regulations — not to mention the ever-present threat of California instituting even more economically soul-crushing initiatives with their new liberal supermajority — then California shouldn’t have anything to worry about, should it?

If, however, the prospect of all of these new taxes and compliance costs has businesses starting to wonder whether the disadvantages of remaining in California possibly outweigh the advantages, then they might start shopping around for different options. It looks like the Californian government has reasons to start sweating a little, from the WSJ:

Nevada is one of a growing number of states stationing full-time business recruiters in California, as the nation’s economy recovers and the competition for jobs heats up. Economic-development bureaus seek to attract business and jobs from wherever they can, but California has become a particularly attractive target lately thanks to the prospect of rising taxes and new regulations that other states think could make companies there easier to lure away—an idea disputed by California officials. …

Now, states that have traditionally staffed external business-development offices only overseas are adding manpower in the Golden State. It isn’t the only place under siege—Virginia’s Fairfax County, for example, has also opened an office in Boston to lure biotech firms—but many are zeroing in on California, betting that new policies going into effect there will begin to push more businesses and entrepreneurs out. …

Companies rarely relocate purely at a recruiter’s suggestion. But states are hoping to capture the attention of Silicon Valley venture capitalists as well as California’s large number of entrepreneurs and CEOs, and to make sure they are on the shortlist for any expansions or relocations.

Perhaps California is right; perhaps the states’ aesthetic attractions, traditional location as a tech-haven, population, and etcetera will be its saving graces — but they do seem bound and determined to test the theory, don’t they?