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Utah, Virginia mount joint raid on California jobs
Economic development » Governors of both states head to California to pitch companies on moving.

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Los Angeles County alone has more people than Virginia’s 8.2 million residents. Utah’s population stands at 2.8 million.

Riley Ray Robbins, deputy director of Brown’s Office of Business and Economic Development, pointed to a 2010 study by the Public Policy Institute of California that found that no more than 2.3 percent of all jobs left the state in any one year between 1992 and 2006.

At a glance

Comparing friendly rivals

Utah’s personal income tax rate is 5 percent. In Virginia, it’s 5.75 percent for people making more than $17,000. California’s is staggered depending on income, from a low of 1 percent to 12.3 percent on income of more than $1 million.

Timing no coincidence

Utah and Virginia recently were ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in Forbes magazine’s annual list of the best states for conducting business.

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As for the two visiting governors, "We’ll be happy to take their double-occupancy contribution to California’s number 1 tourism industry," Robbins said in a statement.

That was echoed by economist Christopher Thornberg, who thinks talk about the state’s demise is wildly exaggerated. There are plenty of problems for businesses, but California’s job growth was more than double the rate in Virginia for the year that ended in February, he said.

"It’s no wonder they are coming here," Thornberg said.

Job numbers alone don’t persuade business owners, said Jeff Miller, a prominent Republican fundraiser who moved from California to Austin, Texas. His firm works to assist companies that want to move to Texas, including poaching jobs from his former home state.

He hasn’t closed any deals since his recent move, but predicts he will help thousands of jobs come to Texas this year.

In California, "the cost of business is just too high," said Miller, who is a close with Perry and has raised political dollars for him. "They want to go to a place where it’s more affordable to grow their business."

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