California Governor Gavin Newsom stressed the importance of streamlining the state’s infrastructure permitting processes at the 97th Annual Sacramento Host Breakfast yesterday.
The annual Host Breakfast, attended by close to 1,000 civic and business leaders from throughout the state, offers decision-makers in California finance, government, education, agriculture and industry the opportunity to exchange views, establish and renew friendships, and create statewide atmospheres of good will and understanding at a common table. The breakfast is sponsored by the Sacramento Host Committee, made up of 30 Sacramento area business leaders, and the California Chamber of Commerce.
Governor Newsom joined CalChamber President and CEO Jennifer Barrera for a question-and-answer exchange on important issues facing California.
One of the issues discussed was expediting infrastructure projects. The Governor asserted that progress was being made to reforming some aspects of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and said his office would soon announce streamlining, permitting and judicial reforms.
These reforms will be critical to taking advantage of $180 billion in federal infrastructure funding.
“[The $180 billion in funding is] one of the most significant investments in California’s history. And the only thing that gets in the way is a world we invented. And that’s process and delay and manipulation,” Governor Newsom said.
Asked about the state’s climate goals, the Governor touted California’s leadership in carbon neutrality. The state has invested in a wide range of green technologies, such as battery storage, carbon capture, green hydrogen and more.
In fact, the state is converting old industrial facilities into large bio green facilities, creating thousands of jobs and bringing in billions of dollars of investment, he said.
The transition to green energy is going to be “the biggest transformation in our lifetime,” the Governor said, and California is poised to dominate the transition.
“…we dominate in this space; it’s one of our biggest exports,” he said. “This is…the one thing that I think separates our game from the game played almost anywhere else and is one of the greatest economic opportunities of our lifetime.”
The Governor also cautioned against forgetting how great the state is. The state still dominates in “every major category,” he said.
He pointed out that California is the No. 1 state for manufacturing, agriculture, hunting and forestry jobs, two-way trade and direct foreign trade. California has 51% more startups, and since the last two decades, more than half of the venture capital in the U.S. is coming out of California.
“Our home state, the Golden State, in the next few decades will be a golden era of California if we maintain our wits, maintain our confidence, and continue to accelerate our nation-leading policies,” Governor Newsom said.
The discussion closed on the issue of pay equity, and Governor Newsom thanked the CalChamber for signing California’s Equal Pay Pledge.
Family- and women-friendly workplace policies are a “no-brainer” and foster company growth and success, he said. California is making gains in this area, with the percentage of women serving on corporate boards doubling to 33% since 2018.
While the percentage is not where it needs to be, the Governor pointed out that California has the most woman-owned businesses in the country.
“And we haven’t even gotten started,” he added.