Building An Upward Economy for All
Building An Upward Economy for All

California is a place of unparalleled economic opportunity, where high tech comes to take flight, where our creative workforce entertains and connects the world, and where our agricultural products feed America. Over the past six years, businesses and employers have created 2.5 million jobs, helping us reach the lowest unemployment rate in more than a decade and cementing our status as the sixth-largest economy in the world.

But for too many, California’s economic recovery is a spectator sport. Ours is at once the richest and poorest state. Eight million Californians are below the poverty line. Nearly two million children – one in five – live in poverty. We’re witnessing staggering levels of income and wealth inequality.

I’m focused on building an upward economy that works for every Californian - one that is measured by growth and inclusion. Fighting income inequality and unequal opportunity is the defining economic challenge of our time, and California must face it head on.

As Governor, Gavin will:

Focus on Education

Education is economic development. California will need 1.1 million additional bachelor’s degrees by 2030 to meet economic demand. If you take associate’s degrees and certificates into account, the number climbs even higher. Gavin has called for the California Promise, a new way of thinking about education as a lifelong pursuit, because if we’re going to close this massive skills gap, we’ve got to start at the beginning.

  • Early Childhood: With increased investments in prenatal services and universal preschool, coupled with college savings accounts for entering kindergarteners, we can link the next generation to higher education and successful careers.
  • STEM and Broadband: California is the tech capital of the world but claims 68,000 open, high-paying computing jobs it can’t fill. Only a quarter of California's high schools even offer computer science and, sadly, that disparity is punctuated by striking gender and racial gaps. As Governor, Gavin will expand broadband infrastructure to close the digital divide and provide “Computer Science for All.”
  • Community Colleges: Community colleges are one of our most effective tools for upward mobility. Gavin will make them the backbone of our workforce development strategy beginning with two years of free community college tuition, creating pathways to quality jobs. They will also play a central role in three major jobs initiatives:

    • First, we will develop transformation maps for every cluster, industry and region of our state to make sure we’re preparing folks for the jobs that actually exist. Working with the UC, CSU, and community college systems, we will overlay industry trends, job availability, and educational data, and then develop relevant curriculum to meet those workforce and skills needs.
    • Second, we will establish 500,000 apprenticeships by 2029, creating a new vocational pipeline of high-skill workers. Apprenticeships provide the education and training necessary to prepare Californians for the jobs of today and tomorrow in an increasingly global world. We will expand both earn-and-learn apprenticeships and successful labor-management programs, both of which expand opportunity for Californians in growing sectors like advanced manufacturing, energy, health, information technology and hospitality. We will never win the race to the bottom on tax incentives, but we can win the race on talent incentives by building on our world class human capital.
    • Third, we will provide individual skills accounts for Californians looking for work so they can always refresh their skills, no matter what stage of life. In today’s rapidly changing economy, our workforce must be able to adapt to new needs and advancements. These accounts, established with the backing of business, labor and government, will allow Californians to tap into the vast resources of our community college system to help get folks back on their feet.

Develop Regional Workforce and Economic Development Plans

California must harness its geographic economic diversity. The Inland Empire and San Joaquin Valley have unique strengths that differ from Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Regional strengths need targeted support.

Break Wall Street’s Chokehold on State Finance and Develop our own State Bank

Through low-interest public financing, we can inject more capital into building infrastructure, repairing our roads, bridges, and airports, providing fair student loans, and helping to build the 3.5 million new homes needed by 2025 to make housing more affordable.

Support Small Businesses

California’s small businesses provide half of all jobs in the state. Gavin is committed to fostering entrepreneurship, cutting red tape and expanding access to capital, particularly for minority and women-owned enterprises.

Grow Jobs through Fiscal Responsibility

We cannot tax or cut our way to prosperity - we can only get there by building an economy that reduces inequality and grows jobs. As Governor, Gavin will protect our Rainy Day Fund, aggressively tackle the state’s stubborn wall of debt, and, in the aftermath of President Trump’s disastrous tax bill, begin a long-overdue conversation about a twenty-first century system of taxation. We must explore options that reduce revenue volatility to create a stable economy that funds progressive priorities.

Ensure Economic Justice for All Californians

Gavin will be a fierce advocate for workers, especially low-income folks, women, and communities of color. As Governor, he will utilize our new state bank and community development financial institutions to provide small business loans and establish innovative micro-lending programs to assist the growth of minority and women-owned firms. The state also confronts a massive pay gap between men and women, and the disparities are even worse for women of color. Gavin is committed to closing this gap.

Empower More Communities to Participate in the State's Economic Growth

4.5 million Californians live in economically distressed zip codes. A new federal program that encourages investors to put their capital gains to work in distressed communities provides the chance to give places passed over by the state's recent growth a much-needed leg up. We should align our own economic development initiatives behind the Opportunity Zones program to ensure that the public and private sectors invest together to forge a more prosperous future for all Californians.

Build Economic Opportunity through Renewable Energy

California is home to more than 318,000 clean economy jobs, more than any other state. As Governor, Gavin will grow jobs by expanding R&D partnerships, strengthening policies and programs that expand the use of clean energy technologies, safeguarding against federal actions that seek to erode California’s environmental leadership, and identifying clean energy pathways that will benefit all communities. California's shift to renewable energy must be leveraged to build economic opportunity.

Boost our Manufacturing Sector

California’s vibrant manufacturing sector employs more than 1.2 million Californians and generates over $270 billion a year. Gavin will support California manufacturing by boosting exports and gearing workforce training toward twenty-first century demands.

Gear Up Exports

In 2016, California exported $163.6 billion to 228 foreign markets, making it the second largest state exporter in the country. Despite this success, California is not nearly as active and purposeful as other states or nations in capitalizing on those strengths. As Governor, Gavin will create jobs by developing export channels with global markets and forging partnerships with non-government entities to create state international trade and investment offices. This strategy will benefit small businesses —which comprise 96 percent of the approximately 56,000 exporting firms in California—as well as firms across all of California’s major sectors, from agriculture to advanced technology.

Drive Innovation

California, and Silicon Valley, wrote the book on innovation. Now other states and nations are resolved to write the sequel, and they are investing heavily to do so. To remain the world’s powerhouse of innovation, California must ramp up its efforts on multiple fronts: doubling down on R&D, strengthening manufacturing prowess, unleashing more entrepreneurial energy, catalyzing business startups and expansion and, most importantly, supporting innovation by smoothing the path between a brilliant idea and a global brand. As Governor, Gavin will nurture regional and cluster-based collaborations partnering industry, our academic institutions, and communities to innovate new ideas and spur economic growth throughout the state.

Build Infrastructure

California can’t double exports or foster a renaissance in manufacturing without world-class ports, airports, roadways, bridges and other freight infrastructure. We can’t build an innovation culture with global reach or reap the benefits of the information age without the capacity to send and receive vast amounts of information. As Governor, Gavin will align infrastructure decisions with regional strategies, pursue new and creative approaches to financing including Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts and the new state bank, and lead the movement to make universal access to high-speed broadband a reality for every Californian.

Get Serious about the Future of Work

We are living in a hinge moment — with globalization and technology detonating at the same time, displacing workers and entire industries. It’s not an easy subject to talk about but we need to have a serious conversation about the future of work because if we don’t prepare ourselves, our rising levels of wealth inequality will only widen. There is no silver bullet that will wholly solve the displacement from future technology, but implementing the right solutions can help ease the transition and protect the workers most vulnerable and susceptible to automation.

  • Wage Insurance: The federal government offers reemployment insurance to folks who lose their jobs to foreign workers, but no one is offering this critical protection for those who fall victim to automation. If a hard working Californian who did everything right loses a job, takes the time to train for a new one, and then ultimately lands a position that doesn’t pay as much, we ought to offer wage insurance to help pay the bills.
  • Portable Benefits: Our benefits system of retirement, vacation and sick leave are designed for a different era. Meanwhile, there are anywhere between one and two million gig workers in California, folks who depend on independent contracting to make ends meet. We like the innovation of the gig economy but that doesn’t mean we should reduce our worker standards. As Governor, Gavin is committed to protecting the workers of the contingent economy by establishing a system of portable benefits, so that earned benefits are not tied to one company or industry. California can be a leader in pioneering the benefits of the future.
  • Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit: Finally, we need to expand our statewide Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income earners and for those out of work – a program that rewards work and allows families to keep more of their hard-earned money. An expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit will support hard-working Californians and alleviate poverty.