SALINAS, Calif. -- It's a story gaining national attention that could impact your Central Coast economy. It's a battle of the Titans putting millions of dollars at stake. Texas Governor Rick Perry takes a hit at California through a new radio ad.
Salinas and Santa Cruz city leaders told Central Coast News in the past their permitting processes take too long, and could put them at risk to lose out on new businesses coming in.
Because of that, the city of Santa Cruz launched OpenCounter last month, a website that guides businesses through the permit process all in one place, instead of jumping through so many loops and visiting various departments.
One Salinas small business owner said he waited three times longer than he planned just to get his business up.
"It's like a maze and, like I said, there's no blueprint and there's no map to get you from point A to point B," said Frank Savino, business owner of Aqua Blue Skin and Body Spa in Old Town Salinas.
He said the start-up process was unbelievable to start up his business. It was loop after loop, and took him nine months to open.
"When we opened, we had so many things that we had to do to be compliant with both state and local permitting, and things like that," he said.
So, Savino said he's not surprised Texas Gov. Rick Perry took an aim at California in a $24,000 radio campaign. Gov. Perry says: "This is Texas Governor Rick Perry and I have a message for California businesses. Come check out Texas and see why our low taxes, sensible regulations and fair legal system are just the thing to get your business moving to Texas."
But some businesses in Salinas, like Girl Lee, said the permitting process was a piece of cake. She said that's because her business is retail and she doesn't have to deal with the hassles restaurants and spas do.
Gov. Jerry Brown fired back at Texas. "Who'd want to spend their summers in 110 degree heat inside some kind of fossil-fueled air conditioner? Not a smart way to go," he said.
A UCLA economist said despite their different business climates, Texas and California are number one and two in the country in job creation. And despite Savino saying it's harder to do business in California, he said: "I love California. I'm not going to Texas."
On top of Santa Cruz trying to make the permitting process easier, Salinas Mayor Joe Gunter told Central Coast News in December he's also working to speed up the process.
He said the city is getting interest, but what's holding prospective businesses back is the permit process that can take anywhere from two weeks to eight months.
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