Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said today that this fall he and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez plan to send Gov. Jerry Brown a bill to establish a Cabinet-level economic development office, eliminating several commissions Newsom called redundant, including his own.
"What I'm offering in this plan is getting rid of commissions like mine," Newsom told reporters in San Jose. "I'm the chair of the Economic Development Commission in the state. You've never heard of it for good reason. I don't want you to ever hear about it again. I think it should be done away with, and it should be re-organized under the governor's office."
In a report released today, titled "An Economic Growth and Competitiveness Agenda for California," Newsom said California has "lacked a strategic, statewide economic plan" for more than a decade.
He said he will seek to reopen California's foreign trade offices, which were disbanded amid scandal in 2003. Newsom said new offices would be privately funded and that he will announce in "a few weeks" details of the first one, in China.
Newsom called for the formation of "strike teams" to address state and local regulatory and permitting matters.
As a businessman, he said, "What I care about is that local planning commissioner, or that crazy city supervisor, or that department of building inspector that was different than one day before that made me rip out my bathroom because she decided to change her mind on something she told me a week ago."
Many of Newsom's ideas have been suggested before, and implementing most of them would require the cooperation of Brown and the Legislature.
"This is not about some lieutenant governor. Guys like me come and go and most of you never even knew who was before me," he said. "I get it. But it is about the fate and future of the most magnificent experiment God has ever conceived, and that's California."
Newsom held up a copy of a recent USA Today, with the headline, "Need a Job? Move to Texas."
"We have hopefully created a framework where, in a year or two, I don't have to read on the front page of the USA Today what I read when I was leaving Washington, D.C. just two days ago," he said.
Business groups praised Newsom's effort. Carl Guardino, the CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which helped pay for the plan's production, called it a "brilliant document."