California: Getting It Done

Last month, I wrote here about how California’s cutting edge policies were working.

Although conservative critics say we’re driving our economy into the ground, the data says otherwise. In fact, last week we heard that we might overtake the United Kingdom this year as the world’s fifth biggest economy.

That news came at basically the same moment that we scored another victory on the environmental front.

Despite a high vote hurdle, the Assembly sent the Governor a landmark environmental package. It included extension of cap and trade into the next decade and tighter controls on industrial polluters.

The two Assembly bills gradually ramp up emissions controls for greenhouse gases, grow the amount of California benefits provided by offsets and ensure that industries retrofit facilities or face meaningful fines.

Those fines hadn’t been increased in 40 years, but we did it.

Stack that up with other things we have done this session, and it would be tempting to take the current recess as a victory lap. In six months, we have:

  • expanded the earned income tax credit
  • won funding to fix roads and add clean transportation options
  • provided record education funding, including support for college students and early childhood education
  • socked away record budget reserves

When we started this session, the Assembly said, in our Open Letter to Californians we were not going to measure ourselves by how well we resisted President Trump, but by how well we achieved goals for Californians.

If we do want to measure ourselves against Trump, we will do it by showing how well we have outdistanced him in getting important policy passed.

If you look at our open letter, however, there’s still more to do. We aim to tackle affordable housing when we get back.

Our work is cut out for us. Californians are expecting action.

We will provide it.