Broad coalition calls for inclusive regional economic planning in state’s recovery

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(Photo: Violeta Vaquiero/CA Fwd)

As the California Legislature prepares to send a radically updated 2020-21 state budget to the Governor by June 15, the Newsom Administration and legislature have indicated that COVID-19 response will be a priority.

In response, a broad coalition of local, regional and statewide organizations is backing legislation to encourage an all-hands approach to regional economic challenges, which they argue is critical to the state’s economic recovery in the wake of the current pandemic.  

The coalition of 28 organizations delivered a letter to California Assemblymember Rudy Salas (32nd District) in support of AB 3205, which establishes the Regions Rise Grant Program in the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz).  

The legislation incentivizes local, nonprofit, business, and philanthropy leaders to work together on inclusive economic plans and strategies that will be particularly impactful for underserved and under-resourced communities in the state. These communities often do not have the capacity and resources to pursue a process that will lead to regionally focused economic strategies that are truly transformational for a community.

The Regions Rise Grant Program would institutionalize this process and — as the coalition explains in the letter — this regional approach will be vital during the recovery and beyond to address regional disparities.

“Support for rebuilding regional economies that are fundamentally more inclusive, a true ‘California for All’, must be central to that [budget] plan,” the letter states. “Otherwise we will simply be recreating the economic conditions of widespread geographic and ethnic inequities that are aggravating the current crisis. AB 3205 tackles this head on and lays the groundwork for a fundamentally more inclusive economy with more economic resilience for all Californians.”

The legislation grew from the California Economic Summit, where regional and inclusive economic planning was front and center. 

“With the current public COVID-19 health crisis, we have learned it is even more imperative that our regions continue to identify feasible strategies and solutions that meet the needs of the local community. As the impact of COVID-19 accelerates an economic downturn, the importance of building sustainable economies resilient to extraordinary hardships is more important than ever,” the letter concluded.

The Coalition includes organizations who partner with California Forward on the Summit and who are committed to building inclusive, sustainable economic growth where all Californians can prosper.   

Read the full letter here.


John Guenther

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