Kashkari says Nestle closure is proof of state's poor business climate

.@neelkashkari says Nestle plan to close Chatsworth plant latest indicator of Calif.'s poor business climate

GOP gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari pointed to Nestle USA’s decision to shutter a Chatsworth plant and move operations out-of-state as the latest indicator of the state’s poor business climate under Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.

“This is just the latest example of so many businesses that are leaving, and Brown is not doing anything about it,” Kashkari said in an interview Friday. “The reason we have  a middle class that is being destroyed, the reason we have a poverty rate that is so high, is because of the lack of good jobs.”

He has previously highlighted Toyota’s decision to move to Texas and Sriracha’s one-time contemplation of moving out of state to argue that California’s taxes and regulations are onerous.

“This is a serious problem facing our state,” Kashkari said. “We can’t just shrug our shoulders. We have to take bold action to remain competitive.”

Asked what Kashkari would have done as governor to stop Nestlé from relocating the jobs to rural Kentucky, he said he did not know.

“I need to learn what the specific factors were behind” the decision, said Kashkari, who plans to hold a press conference about the plant closure in front of Nestlé’s Glendale headquarters this afternoon.

Kashkari said he would oppose tax deals that benefit specific industries or companies, and instead support efforts that would improve the state’s overall business climate. Such moves would include decreasing regulations and offering incentives for the creation of new manufacturing jobs here.

Manufacturing jobs have been leaving Southern California over the last two decades, with the region’s high cost of living often factoring into the moves.

But officials with Nestle said the decision to close the plant, which produces Hot Pockets, was to consolidate operations at an existing plant in Kentucky and because of lack of space to expand at the Chatsworth facility.

The closure will result in the loss of 360 jobs.

A political spokesman for Brown did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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