When it comes to attracting and retaining business and jobs, California doesn't need to take a back seat to Texas and other states anymore.
That was part of the message State Senator Lois Wolk, D-Solano, brought Friday to local business and civic leaders during a Fairfield breakfast gathering of the Solano Economic Development Corporation.
Her message was straight forward: "The outlook (for California and Solano County) is tremendously positive."
Noting declines in unemployment rates, increases in the numbers of jobs created in the past year, and movement on important issues in Sacramento, Wolk said there are still challenges ahead but added that it was "wonderful to be here with some good news."
Of particular importance, she noted, was the passage of AB 93, an economic package that provides some tax exemptions for manufacturers on purchases of equipment and materials.
"For years we have heard that the barrier to expansion of business in California is that we have no sales tax exemption (for manufacturers) like every other state," Wolk said. "The argument is that equipment and materials should be exempt because the output, or product, they make is also taxed, so they are double taxed. AB 93 allows for the exemption for manufacturing processing businesses."
Governor Jerry Brown, she noted, referred to the tax exemption as his "Texas option," a comment that brought more than a few chuckles from the audience.
The exemption, she noted, are offered through a competitive process, with a select committee of the governor's awarding the credits of up to $2 million.
The plan may already be lined up to help Vacaville, as the exemptions could apply to an aircraft manufacturing firm currently negotiating to locate near the Nut Tree Airport.
ICON Aircraft Inc. of Los Angeles wants to establish a facility to build light recreational aircraft on land adjacent to the airport in Vacaville. "So much for Texas," Wolk quipped.
Wolk also talked to the group about the ongoing battle over the Delta, vowing to continue to fight for "real" quality controls that will benefit the region
And on education, she thanked voters for approving Proposition 30, providing funding for schools but added that more will need to be done in the future and that education remains a priority.