It is projected to create about 500 construction jobs, about half as many as the company once predicted.
"To a large extent, jobs in California are hostage to jobs in the United States," said Alan Auerbach, an economist at the University of California-Berkeley. "You can't separate the California economy from the U.S. economy. That's really beyond the governor's reach."
Still, Auerbach said, through broad policy initiatives a governor "can essentially force an industry to grow." He cited as an example Brown's signing in April of legislation requiring California utilities to obtain one-third of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
Voters know state government "can't be the solution to the global slowdown," said Thad Kousser, a political science professor at the University of California-San Diego. "But we still want to see the people we put in office fighting for the thing that's the biggest issue of the day."
Brown has acknowledged the limitations of state government. He said recently that "if we really wanted to get the country moving, we'd get a stimulus out of the federal government."
But on Tuesday, Brown said the state "over the long term" can affect job creation by investing in infrastructure, energy, schools and public safety.
"This is the nuts and bolts of strengthening the economy," he said. "You have to do whatever it is you can do."
Job creation is politically significant to Brown, who is trying to corner the issue for Democrats before statewide elections next year, while also considering what tax increases to propose to voters in November 2012.
Brown said Tuesday that polls on taxes are generally unfavorable but said voters might approve sales and income taxes.
"Sales and income could pass under certain circumstances," he said. "It could. And it couldn't."
Brown's proposal last week to eliminate one corporate tax benefit in return for others - a controversial measure he presented as a jobs plan - was criticized by Republicans, and they are likely to defeat it in the Legislature. Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton, of Rancho Cucamonga, issued a series of statements Tuesday urging lawmakers to oppose bills he said would hurt businesses, including the bill containing Brown's corporate tax proposal.
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