OK, I’m not going to write a big narrative on what I think first; instead I am inviting a discussion on this:
This economic downturn, with all of the bankruptcies and business makeovers it is bringing could be really good for a place like Cenla from an economic development standpoint.
Because as companies like Chrysler and GM and any number of firms look to emerge from this mess (which is really the cumulative effects of bad government policies, bad business policies, and an overall lack of innovation), they will want to be leaner, more efficient operations.
What that means (we’ll use GM for example) is that they may consider shutting down some of their older inefficient factories and assembly plants and replace them with smaller, more efficient facilities.
For a company like GM, they could build a new facility here considerably cheaper than they could in Michigan. They could hire workers more cheaply (and still pay much higher than prevailing wages here). Their executives and managers could build really nice houses here for a fraction of what they could elsewhere. Utilities are cheaper here. Supplemental products and services are cheaper here.
We have an ample transportation system. And I believe we have multiple Free Trade Zones, which means they can import and assemble foreign components without having to clear customs.
Not that I am a fan of the whole race to the bottom concept, but when these big businesses do reorganize and streamline, why not try to get them to do it here?
Even when you consider a company like Microsoft: They have white collar workers. Yet they could pay those workers half the wages they pay them in California here, and those workers would be able to still have a higher quality of life and more expendable income, simply because the cost of living and the cost of doing business in Cenla is so much cheaper than in Silicon Valley.
So, can we actually position our region to be proactive in a time when businesses are looking to remake they ways they operate?