California is awash in cash — $100 billion says Gov. Gavin Newsom.
While much of the federal aid and taxes from the rich will be used to provide core services such as education and health care, the windfall also provides a once-in-a-generational opportunity to tackle one of California’s most vexing problems: income inequality.
As the pandemic exacerbates a pre-existing wealth gap that has disproportionately hurt women and people of color, the California Divide’s five-newsroom team has found renters bracing for an eviction tsunami, residents saddled by water bills, parents put in lifelong debt by child support, and students unable to access stable broadband for learning.
Expectations are high for a turnaround. Already, experts have speculated that the federal relief alone could be enough to cut California’s child poverty in half.
Our dashboard is intended to be a gauge for California’s response.
As the governor and Legislature debate spending priorities, our team is interested in monitoring the effects on the ground: How is the state using its surplus to improve lives? Are low-income workers making gains relative to those at the top? Can tenants afford rent in the region they live? Is child poverty going down?
Through these questions, we hope to monitor whether the state is on track for a more equitable economic recovery.
How much federal stimulus money are we getting?
But state and local governments will benefit by the billions to help close deficits, boost education spending and increase public assistance programs.
Click each rectangle to see more detail.
How much are we spending on the state’s budget?
In the case of the state, Newsom and lawmakers also have a surplus to spend.
In his latest budget proposal, the Democratic governor charted a course to expand preschool, summer school and after-school programs. He also wants to expand the Golden State Stimulus to the middle class, among a long list of ideas.
Hover over each rectangle to see more detail.
Who’s able to find work?
And what’s the pay gap?
How much does a house cost?
And can tenants afford rent?
What’s the poverty rate?
And how many people are going hungry?
CalMatters staff Judy Lin, John Osborn D’Agostino, Jackie Botts and Nigel Duara contributed to this story.
This article is part of the California Divide, a collaboration among newsrooms examining income inequality and economic survival in California.