And while children’s advocates and others appreciate the incremental progress made under Brown — for example, creating and then expanding a state earned income tax credit — Chris Hoene, executive director of the California Budget & Policy Center, said there’s more to be done. “This governor has made strides, but we’re still not back to where we were before the Great Recession,” Hoene said. “I would expect (the Legislature) to see whether a Gov. Newsom is perhaps willing to go a bit further than Gov. Brown was in general.”
Proposition 6, on the November ballot, would repeal SB1, eliminating $5.1 billion in annual funding for road repair and mass transit, and halting thousands of projects, several of which have already begun. It would also require that any future change to gas and vehicle taxes go before voters, taking that tool away from legislators. At stake, beyond fixing roads and funding reliable bus service, is the very nature of governance itself in the Golden State. “We wouldn’t be having this discussion if we had a more normal system,” said Chris Hoene of the California Budget & Policy Center.
California has its own refundable state tax credit that helps low-wage working families. This could be expanded to provide as much as $2,000 a year and to push further into the middle class to cover half the state’s population, including more than 5 million children. The California Budget & Policy Center projects that this would significantly reduce the state’s poverty rate, the nation’s highest.
More than a half of the state’s renters and more than a third of its homeowners are burdened by housing costs, according to the California Budget & Policy Center. They spend over a third of their paycheck on housing.
According to the California Budget & Policy Center, 56% of those living below twice the federal poverty line (that is, below $24,280 for one person) are spending more than half their income on housing.