Fallout: The Financial Crisis

Colorado goes after California workers

Marketplace Staff Feb 13, 2009
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Fallout: The Financial Crisis

Colorado goes after California workers

Marketplace Staff Feb 13, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Kai Ryssdal: According to the Los Angeles Times this morning, California officials are expecting about $26 billion in stimulus spending to come their way. That still won’t be enough to fix a whopping budget deficit and a state government that’s gridlocked even on a good day. And it’s not going to make it any easier to do business out here. The high cost of running a company in the Golden State has been driving firms away for a while. And now other Western states are trying to capitalize. From KQED, Rob Schmitz reports.


Rob Schmitz: Tomorrow, 400 of California’s top CEOs — at companies from Google to Amgen — will receive Valentines from the state of Colorado. This morning, an airplane circled over L.A. with a banner proclaiming “Colorado Loves California.” It’s all part of a $100,000 campaign to court heart-broken businesses looking for a better suitor. Tom Clark is with the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation.

Tom Clark: We’re not going in to steal companies, we’re going in and offering an option for folks who have cost issues, that they need to get into a new market. Because if we lose California, the entire West gets hurt.

Last year, a billion dollars’ worth of venture capital flowed into Colorado. Half of it from California. The state of Nevada has spent millions to lure businesses across its border. Nevada Development Authority’s Somer Hollingsworth, says he’s heard from quite a few California CEOs lately.

Somer Hollingsworth: People have finally said, “I can’t be here. No matter what happens, I’m going to be sunk, so maybe I need get out of Dodge.”

And it’s not just businesses looking for a way out. Public Relations manager Heather Clisby recently moved to Denver from San Francisco, initially for a boy. A week later, the relationship was over.

Heather Clisby: Well, once I stopped crying, I looked up, I’m like, ‘Oh! Mountains! And, I don’t want to say anything bad about California, but I also felt it was just getting really, lifestyle-wise, it was just getting very crowded.

And expensive. Now she’s got her own business, and she’s saving money. And she’s so over her fling with the debt-ridden Golden sSate.

In Los Angeles, I’m Rob Schmitz for Marketplace.

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