Reflections: Time for California to stop coasting on investments of the past

The Golden State’s tremendous diversity will be the key to its future economic success—if its leaders take action to increase fairness and opportunity. Equity is not only a moral imperative—it is also an economic one.

These are the key messages of the new report California’s Tomorrow: Equity is the Superior Growth Modelauthored by PolicyLink and the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE). The report was released this week at a legislative briefing hosted by PolicyLink and the California Legislative Tri-Caucus, and was attended by legislative staff and nearly 40 advocates from all parts of the state.

Below is a reflection on the report from Shamus Roller, Executive Director of Housing California:

PolicyLink and PERE have articulated what many of us know in our gut, that widening inequality is not just bad for the people at the bottom of the economic spectrum but also bad for California’s economic competitiveness.  Both of my parents graduated from state universities a time when California truly invested in its young people.  Effective economic development is not about the government picking winners and losers in the market but by providing the physical infrastructure and human infrastructure to support business.

Physical infrastructure for the future includes transit, internet access and affordable homes.  Human infrastructure includes real investment in education including higher education and support of parents with young children.  We’ve been coasting on the investments of the past and now it’s time rebuild.

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