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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.