California Economy Roundtable

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, October 7, 2003, that was edited for clarity.

Watch Your World w/Cavuto weekdays at 4 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: It’s the fifth largest economy on the planet, and the folks who do business there have a lot on the table there. Some perspective now from some of the state’s best and brightest. Fox on-top-of-business honchos on alert.

In San Jose, with the chief of technology powerhouse Cypress Semiconductor, T.J. Rodgers. In San Fran, the president and the CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce, Allan Zaremberg. And in Irvine, Peter Ueberroth, a California businessman, former gubernatorial candidate.

Peter Ueberroth, end with you, begin with you. What if Gray Davis stays right where he is, so that he sort of bucks the recall?

PETER UEBERROTH, FORMER CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Well, that would be a sad day, I think, because it would be more of the same, and, right now, California is in a crisis. That’s what this whole recall is. It’s become a mandate for change, and we have to change Sacramento.

CAVUTO: T.J. Rodgers, for the technology industry, does it really matter who’s running things at Sacramento?

T.J. RODGERS, CYPRESS SEMICONDUCTOR CEO (CY): Oh, yes, it does. California has become a very hostile state to business. There is no silicon left in Silicon Valley anymore. We’ve moved it out to Texas and other states, and, unless there’s a change where California recognizes that the cash cow that pays all these fees they’d like to impose on people is business, this economy’s headed for trouble.

CAVUTO: Allan Zaremberg, if it is, indeed, Governor Schwarzenegger tomorrow at this time, what would be the first thing you’d like to hear and see out of him?

ALLAN ZAREMBERG, CALIFORNIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE CEO: Well, we’d like to see a change in attitude. We have a government that isn’t receptive, isn’t hearing the calls for help from our business community where costs are so high and businesses are going to Texas and other states. We need to set an attitude here in California that we’re going to invest in jobs, and, you know, that’s the number one issue that the voters are concerned about, their job security in California’s economy.

CAVUTO: Peter Ueberroth, you’re a great businessman, and you know that there are some things over which the governor has little control in any state, and the whole technology implosion, the dot-com that got dot- bombed, until that industry sort of gets on its feet again -- and there’s some signs of it, but certainly a long way from it -- there’s little a Governor Schwarzenegger, or a Governor Davis could do.

UEBERROTH: Well, no, I think he can do a lot. The first thing he’s got to do is send signals.

CAVUTO: Like what?

UEBERROTH: Send signals that California’s job friendly again. There’s a disconnect between jobs and Sacramento. The Sacramento elected officials don’t understand that jobs, paychecks pay their paychecks, and what they’re doing is they’ve made California very unfriendly. Our neighboring states, wonderful Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Florida -- Oregon is doing a great job. They’re advertising in our papers and they’re taking our jobs out.

Now they’re doing it in subtle ways. Sometimes the company stays in California but takes its growth out of the state. Sometimes they pick up the whole company and move out of the state. And then the worst thing of all is entrepreneurs.

California’s growth and California’s rescue has always been among entrepreneurs, small businesses starting up, growth. If the entrepreneurs start moving out of the state, too, California won’t have a very bright future, and, frankly, it could domino the economics in the rest of the country.

So we have to become a job-friendly state. Job friendly. Not just business friendly. Job friendly, a place that it’s great to employ people.

CAVUTO: All right.

T.J. Rodgers, if the state does not become jobs friendly, what happens?

RODGERS: Well, you just heard it very accurately, and it’s subtle. You just grow California. So Silicon Valley is Silicon Valley, this is a technological miracle, but you simply start growing your divisions, your manufacturing plants, and eventually even your research and development in other countries and other states...

CAVUTO: But, T.J., would you be more or less inclined to do that if Arnold Schwarzenegger was the governor?

RODGERS: Well, I can tell you a month ago my vote was ABD, anybody but Davis. After I read his opinion editorial in "The Wall Street Journal" a few weeks ago, he’s said things that were dead-on economically. He gives out copies of Milton Friedman’s books to his friends. He focuses on cost and not governmental issues, the cost of government and how to drive it down. I think he’s got a chance to be our best actor/governor since the last one, and he was the last good governor we had.

CAVUTO: Allan, of course, he is friendly with Warren Buffett, who has intimated in the past, even though he had to retract some of those remarks, that property taxes might have to be addressed in your state. Does that worry you?

ZAREMBERG: Well, I think Mr. Schwarzenegger has clearly said he’s opposed to increasing property tax on business. You know, one of the things that attracts California to business, one of the things we have here is a great higher education system, for R&D, for entrepreneurialship, you know, and if our budget isn’t in place, if we don’t have a governor, whoever the governor is tomorrow, putting a check and a balance on a legislature that is passing anti-business bills that sets California apart from the rest of the country, only state with paid family leave, the only state with mandatory health care, the only state with daily overtime. We need a check and balance, and we need not to balance the budget on the backs of business.

CAVUTO: Allan Zaremberg, I want to thank you very much.

Peter Ueberroth, a pleasure.

T.J. Rodgers, the same.

We’ll see what happens, gentlemen.

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