The California Economic Summit announced the launch today of its new 2019 Roadmap to Shared Prosperity, an updated plan for the state and California’s regions to work together to combat rising income inequality, growing economic insecurity, and declining upward mobility.
Governor-elect Gavin Newsom has called these issues the “defining economic challenge of our time,” and as he prepares to take office next week, the Summit conveners, California Forward and the California Stewardship Network, are committed to supporting his administration’s efforts to take them on. This year’s Roadmap, based on the input of more than 500 participants at the 2018 Summit in Santa Rosa, offers some of the best thinking in the state about how to organize this work and maximize its impact.
California’s economy continues to be among the world’s most productive, but the public, private, and civic sector leaders working through the Summit recognize that this unprecedented engine of growth, which has attracted people eager to live the “California Dream” for generations, is not working for far too many people.
It’s not just that one in five Californians—7.4 million people—are living in poverty. It’s not just that the high cost of living is making it difficult for millions more to make ends meet—with fully half of California households now struggling to rent or buy a home in their community. It’s not just that a changing climate is threatening more communities with more frequent—and more extreme—natural disasters, or that the wealthiest 5 percent of Californians are earning almost as much as the next 60 percent.
It’s not just any one of these issues. It’s all of them.
For California to successfully take on any one of them, it will have to take on them all. Since its first event in 2012, this has been the central premise behind the Summit, which has emerged as one of the state’s only cross-sector platforms for capturing the best ideas from every region—and promoting comprehensive, triple bottom line solutions that match the scale of California’s challenges.
This year’s Roadmap continues this work, with an updated strategy to “Elevate CA” by investing in early childhood education and a smarter safety net to help millions of California move out of poverty. The Summit continues to advance its “Million Challenges”—targeted initiatives to expand the state’s skilled workforce, lower housing costs, create more livable wage jobs, and invest in sustainable water infrastructure. The Roadmap also offers details plans for encouraging rural economic development and promoting resiliency in regions recovering from wildfires, while also helping more communities tap the potential of new federally-designated Opportunity Zones.
Tying all of these initiatives together is the Summit’s new, draft “CA Dream Index,” a scorecard the administration can use to track progress on all of these fronts—and begin to hold itself accountable to closing the growing gap between the California we have, and the California we need.
Click here to view the full 2019 Roadmap to Shared Prosperity.