Attracting Technology to California

A little more than two weeks ago, Governor Schwarzenegger and Cobalt Technologies held a press conference about technology in California billed as: important to ‘the state’s future economic vitality’. At the event, Schwarzenegger applauded Cobalt, which commercializes biobutanol as the type of business that was beneficial environmentally as well as economically. The Governor explained how companies like Cobalt were going to spur economic development and create jobs in our financially troubled state (for the record, Cobalt plans on building an even larger facility here in CA in the next three years).

So, one way the Governor hopes to attract businesses like Cobalt to California is with tax incentives. Just this week Schwarzenegger proposed sales tax exemption for the purchase of green tech manufacturing equipment.  In addition to tax incentives, the Governor and other officials have pushed funding and partnerships in recent years, that are designed to boost the state’s leading tech universities’ most innovating programs- a move the state hopes will propel research and attract the nation’s brightest, young minds in fields like cleantech, biotech, and nanotech.

California is already home to 1 in 5 technology jobs in the U.S., but it’s unclear if lawmakers and officials seem to understand the importance of retaining that distinction.  Making California an economically friendly environment for tech businesses, while educating the next generation of tech innovators, seem to be two strategies that will ensure California remains a leader in technology and innovation.