Dear BizFed members,
I’ve gone thorough Governor Newsom’s State of the State, and without commentary, provided you with his exact words, as an Executive Summary of his address. It’s nice to have the facts as you listen and read lots of public and social media commentary about it today. Stay tuned in the coming days and weeks as we vet and mobilize on key aspects that will impact our economy.
The Governor addressed 13 subjects. Highlights are below.
For complete text click here. https://www.gov.ca.gov/
By every traditional measure, the state of our state is strong.
The tough calls we must make together on rail, water, and energy. How we protect migrants, care for seniors, and help the homeless, and how we will tackle the affordability crisis that is coming to define life in this state.
1) Just yesterday, I gave the National Guard a new mission – one that will refocus on the real threats facing our state.
A third of our forces currently on the border will be redeployed to help prepare for the upcoming fire season by joining CAL FIRE in prevention and suppression. Work, ironically, the federal government curtailed during the recent shutdown.
Another third will boost the National Guard’s statewide Counter Drug Task Force by redeploying up north to go after illegal cannabis farms, many of which are run by cartels, are devastating our pristine forests, and are increasingly becoming fire hazards themselves.
The remaining third of our Guard will focus on stopping criminals smuggling drugs and guns through existing border checkpoints.
2) we do have the capacity to complete a high-speed rail link between Merced and Bakersfield.
I know that some critics will say this is a “train to nowhere.” But that’s wrong and offensive. The people of the Central Valley endure the worst air pollution in America as well as some of the longest commutes. And they have suffered too many years of neglect from policymakers here in Sacramento. They deserve better.
Abandoning high-speed rail entirely means we will have wasted billions of dollars with nothing but broken promises and lawsuits to show for it.
And by the way, I am not interested in sending $3.5 billion in federal funding that was allocated to this project back to President Donald Trump.
You’re also going to see some governance changes, starting with my pick for the next chair of the High-Speed Rail Authority, Lenny Mendonca, my Economic Development Director.
3) I do not support the Water Fix as currently configured. Meaning, I do not support the twin tunnels. But we can build on the important work that’s already been done. That’s why I do support a single tunnel.
The status quo is not an option.
We have to get past the old binaries, like farmers versus environmentalists, or North versus South. Our approach can’t be “either/or.” It must be “yes/and.”
Conveyance and efficiency. And recycling projects like we’re seeing in Southern California’s Met Water District, expanding floodplains in the Central Valley, groundwater recharge, like farmers are doing in Fresno County. We need a portfolio approach to building water infrastructure and meeting long-term demand.
To help bring this balance, I’m appointing a new chair of the California water board, Joaquin Esquivel.
4) Just this morning, more than a million Californians woke up without clean water to bathe in or drink.
Solving this crisis demands sustained funding. It demands political will.
5) My administration will work to make sure PG&E upholds its obligations. I have convened a team of the nation’s best bankruptcy lawyers and financial experts from the energy sector.
They will work with my strike team to develop a comprehensive strategy that we will present within 60 days.
6) Seven years ago, we invested $47.3 billion in our schools. Next year, with your support, we’ll invest more than $80 billion — that includes $576 million for special education.
But it’s not enough. We’re still 41st in the nation in per pupil funding. Something needs to change. We need to have an honest conversation about how we fund our schools at a state and local level.
We need clear and achievable standards of transparency, more information sharing, and accountability for all public schools … traditional and charter.
We need a new President for the State Board of Education, to lead the way and work alongside State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, and to lift up all of our students. And my pick for that position is nationally recognized education expert Linda Darling-Hammond.
7) I’m appointing a new Commission on Homelessness & Supportive Housing, led by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
With your support, let’s put half a billion dollars into immediate funding for navigation centers — emergency shelters with services on site, and another hundred million for Whole Person Care to replace a fragmented approach to services with one that’s more integrated and comprehensive.
8) For the first time in our history, older Californians will outnumber young children. Over the next decade, our statewide senior population will increase by 4 million. In 25 years, it will double. And more than half will require some form of long-term care.
It’s time for a new Master Plan on Aging.
Today, I am launching the Alzheimer’s Prevention and Preparedness Task Force, bringing the most renowned scientists and thinkers together to develop first-of-its-kind research in this area. It will be headed by a leading advocate for families dealing with Alzheimer’s, our former first lady, Maria Shriver.
9) In a recent survey, 61 percent of young adults in California said they can’t afford to live here.
There’s too much demand and too little supply. And that is happening in large part because too many cities and counties aren’t even planning for how to build. Some are flat out refusing to do anything at all.
That’s why I have committed $750 million for a major new incentive package for communities to do the right thing. $250 million in support to cities and counties to update their housing plans, revamp their zoning process, and get more housing entitled. $500 million more in grants when they achieve these milestones.
There are 47 other cities across California that are not complying with their planning requirements in one way or another. These cities need to summon the political courage to build their fair share of housing.
In recent years, we’ve expedited judicial review on CEQA for professional sports. It’s time we do the same thing for housing.
10) We need new rules to stabilize neighborhoods and prevent evictions, without putting small landlords out of business. I want the best ideas from everyone in this chamber. Here is my promise to you, get me a good package on rent stability this year and I will sign it.
11) Our ability to invest in everything we care about is constrained by the pressure of rising health care costs.
When it comes to the individual mandate, California must act where Washington failed.
If we do, we will be able to deepen subsidies for those earning up to $48,000 and extend subsidies to families earning up to $150,000, something no other state in America has done. We all know California has among the lowest Medicaid reimbursement rates in America.
That’s why our budget devotes more than $1 billion to increase rates and address the provider shortage.
As we pursue the long-term goal of single payer financing, let us make a down-payment now by expanding Medi-Cal coverage to all Californians up to age 26, regardless of their immigration status.
My first act as Governor was to lay the foundation for a single-purchasing system – the largest such system in the nation, which will save hundreds of millions of dollars a year for the people of California.
12) with your support, we will provide a cost of living refund by expanding the earned income tax credit to a million more Californians who need it the most. For families with kids under the age of six, they’ll see their benefit go up by as much as three times.
13) It’s time to develop a new modern compact for California’s changing workforce. This is much bigger than Dynamex.
We will appoint a new Commission on California’s Workforce & Future of Work.
I applaud this legislature for passing the first-in-the-nation digital privacy law last year. But California’s consumers should also be able to share in the wealth that is created from their data. And so I’ve asked my team to develop a proposal for a new Data Dividend for Californians, because we recognize that your data has value and it belongs to you.
As St. Paul said, “we are many parts but one body.” We are all diminished when one of us struggles to lead a good life.
Yes, we have so much left to do.