Alissa Anderson, senior policy analyst at the California Budget and Policy Center, cites another contributing factor to poverty — low wages. She believes the safety nets in place don’t do enough to lift people out of poverty. “They help millions of people better make ends meet,” she said. “We can do more to cut poverty and move people up the economic ladder.”
“As long as the economy is humming along, and Silicon Valley and the stock market are doing well, California’s state budget will be in pretty good shape, assuming that federal funding remains intact,” Graves says by way of reassurance.
“I think Assemblymember Mayes’ comments are accurate,” said Chris Hoene, executive director of the left-leaning California Budget Policy Center, which has closely studied poverty in the state. Hoene said the high poverty rate in the supplemental report is driven by California’s stratospheric housing costs. He added that use of the supplemental measure has gained wide acceptance among researchers. “I think in most quarters, that’s not disputed,” he said.
For those keeping score at home, the most important number to know is this: $95.98 billion. That is the amount of federal money now flowing through California’s $267 billion budget, about 36 percent of the total, as calculated by the arithmetically trustworthy California Budget & Policy Center.
More than 18 percent of Yolo County residents were living below the poverty line in 2015, which for a family of three is equivalent to an annual income of $19,000, according to a report issued this week by the California Budget & Policy Center, which provides independent analysis of budget and tax policies and their impact on low- and middle-income Californians.