Gov. Pete Wilson has wisely thrown his support behind the idea of holding a California economic summit, modeled after the recent extraordinary session held by President-elect Bill Clinton. Republican Wilson is offering to co-sponsor the event, tentatively scheduled to be held in Los Angeles in February, with Democratic Assembly Speaker Willie Brown.
Brown was the one who first proposed a state summit in his welcoming speech to the Assembly earlier this month. He wants to bring academic and business leaders together to help develop a "full and complete agenda" to help California's sagging economy. While California should benefit from efforts under the new Clinton Administration to spur the national economy, the state has a number of problems that can only be addressed by Sacramento.
Legislative initiatives are needed to reform the out-of- control workers' compensation system. The efforts last year fizzled amid the political grandstanding of both Wilson and Brown. California is admittedly an expensive place to live and do business, but it has developed an anti-business image that is larger than reality. Serious attention to economic incentives, regulatory reform and growth management would help offset the perception of a negative business climate in California.
The summit also could help Republicans and Democrats start anew after two years of ugly state budget battles. The Legislature will have to make hard budget choices again in 1993, so consensus-building must start now. That's the best way to restore confidence in California.