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Chris Jones

Schwarzenegger Cancels Business-Recruiting Trip to Las Vegas

8 June 2004

Citing the weekend death of President Reagan, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday canceled a planned Las Vegas appearance intended to recruit expatriated businesses and their executives back to the Golden State.

Though members of Schwarzenegger's staff denied knowledge of the trip as late as Friday, a spokesman for Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn said last week the recently elected California governor called Guinn to inform him of Monday's planned visit to Las Vegas.

Schwarzenegger's staff declined comment on the trip's purpose, but sources said the stop would have been part of a multistate tour encouraging former California business owners and leaders to return to his state.

Schwarzenegger spokesman Darrel Ng said Monday the Las Vegas event was canceled Saturday following that day's death of Reagan, who served as California governor from 1967-1975. Ng declined further comment on the planned media event, its cancellation or Schwarzenegger's plans to reschedule.

Las Vegas-area business leaders and elected officials last week said they would welcome Schwarzenegger's appearance but remained skeptical about whether his sales pitch would have hurt the local economy. Nevada's workers' compensation insurance, utility costs and other business conditions remain favorable when compared with those in California, local leaders said.

The Nevada Development Authority, a semiprivate organization tasked with luring new business to this area, has since August conducted a nearly $600,000 pro-Nevada marketing campaign using ads in large California newspapers. Such messages have helped lure more than 30 California businesses to this state over the past two years, authority President Somer Hollingsworth said.

To combat those efforts, Schwarzenegger reportedly plans to erect a pro-California message on a billboard off Interstate 15 near the Strip.