2022 State Budget Targets California’s Continuing Racial Inequality

California is a state of contrasts. On the one hand, it is flush with a $31 billion budget surplus from the gains of the rich, enabling it to spend record amounts on schools and health care. On the other hand, a new study reveals that despite a progressive tax system, severe racial inequalities remain.

The study, Portrait of California by Measure of America, found that Native Americans’ average lifespan is 67 years, a decrease of more than 7 years since 2012. Black youth are more than twice as likely than white youth to be out of both school and work in the years following high school.

In the city of San Jose, Latinos earn $0.46 for every dollar earned by white workers.

“These inequities didn’t come out of nowhere, they are the result of policy choices,” said Laura Laderman, chief statistician at Measure of America, a project of the Social Science Research Council.

She referred, in part, to segregation and redlining that kept minority communities from taking out bank loans and accessing quality education. “That means that we can make different policy choices that lead to different outcomes.”

Democrats’ budget visions in California call for greater spending on social programs, education, and healthcare, but advocates say that, based on the study’s findings, that the state should be specifically targeting marginalized populations.

Policy experts are hopeful about Gov. Gavin Newsom’s commitment to adding $300 million for public health in the budget he will propose to the Legislature in early January. That funding will allow counties to identify and address specific racial inequities in their regions and potentially create an Office of Health Equity to offer further funding through state grants. Some counties, including Orange and Alameda, already have health equity programs targeting racial inequities.

The study’s authors broke from standard measures of economic success such as gross domestic product or the unemployment rate. Instead, they used the American Human Development Index, which assesses the level of education, life expectancy, and income of different populations and assigns a score from one to 10 that signifies a group’s access to a “freely chosen life of value.”

While the typical Californian ranks higher than the average American on the index, the disparities within the state are wide. The top 1% of Californians score a 9 or higher, while more than 30% of the population scores below 5, lower than the average American.

Researchers further broke down life expectancy, education, and income by race. White and Asian Californians can expect to live to 78 years old, while Latino and Native American life expectancies lag at least three years behind. Both Native American and Black life-expectancy have decreased since 2012, with Black life-expectancy dropping by 1.5 years to 74 years old.

Democrats in the state Senate and Assembly are proposing to strengthen existing safety net programs that indirectly target inequality, such as CalWORKs, the state’s welfare-to-work program, and Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program for the poor.

Democrats aim to increase spending on universities and community colleges, with the chairperson of the Assembly Budget Committee proposing $10 billion for improving school facilities. Senate leaders want to close academic learning gaps in schools through more education spending.

“California is in good fiscal health,” Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins of San Diego said in a statement. “It’s time to build on the progress we’ve made: more access to education and health care.”

Next step: Targeted spending?

But progressive policy experts want to go one step further. They want targeted spending for specific groups, because as Measure of America points out, support isn’t getting where it needs to go. Whites and Asians, for example, were three times more likely to have a bachelor’s degree as Latinos, the index noted. Similarly, Black women’s college enrollment rate is almost 4 percentage points lower than white women.

Progress has already been made, the report points out, with public schools in disadvantaged communities receiving more state and federal funding. But the scales could be weighted more, said Chris Hoene, executive director of the California Budget & Policy Center. Some advocates are pushing for an idea called targeted universalism, in which government support would target specific groups such as Native Americans or Latinas, not just low-income individuals.

“The paths are pretty clear: We need to provide more cash assistance, healthcare and childcare services,” said Hoene, “and it has to be better targeted because the current systems aren’t reaching the communities of color.”

White and Asian workers earn a median income above $51,000 annually, while Black, Native American, and Latino workers earn less than $37,000. In every rural and urban area in California, White workers make above the median income and Latino workers earn below the median, according to the report.

Democrats acknowledge that more work needs to be done. “California’s progressive revenues are funding the state at record levels, but inequity remains,” said state Sen. Nancy Skinner of Berkeley, who supports increased investment in affordable housing and infrastructure.

In recent years, California has authorized additional cash aid for the poor through programs such as the Golden State Stimulus (the statewide cash assistance program to support low-income households during the pandemic) and guaranteed income. Advocates want to see more because there are no strings attached to that financial help  — and it gets into the hands of the groups most in need of support.

While Laderman said she is concerned that “all of these gaps that we have seen will have widened” during the pandemic, she is optimistic that “there are certain opportunities in these moments in the pandemic to invest in the interventions that are necessary.”



  1. Don’t worry the ‘Open Border’ Biden administration has provided another Large Sinkhole for U.S. Taxpayers.
    San Jose has a population about 1,010,000 (2020) – the 3rd most populous city in California…
    US on track for record 2,000,000 migrants illegally crossing the southern border (CNN Mar2021).

    Does anyone really wonder why there is a Pay Differential?
    Think About Skilled Vs UnSkilled Labor?

    “Among all undocumented immigrants ages 25-64, 47% have NOT completed High School (compared with 8% of U.S. born adults in the same age range)
    and of these, more than half (29% of total) have LESS THAN a 9th grade education.”

    Who pays to Educate all the Children who have Illegally Crossed the Border?

    “125,000 unaccompanied kids have illegally crossed the Border during Biden admin”
    “Between 14,000 and 19,000 unaccompanied minors have crossed the border each month..”

    Even at a low estimate of Taxpayers paying $12,000 per student for K-12 Education,
    That Equals,
    $1.5 Billion Dollars Per Year – and most all of these students highly leverage other entitlements at Taxpayer Expense – school meals & lunch programs, Bilingual education needs, and extra burden on the Teachers in the school systems.

    It’s No Wonder Teachers want to stay home and talk into a computer to educate kids now-a-days.

  2. “But progressive policy experts want to go one step further. They want targeted spending for specific groups”

    Blatant dressed-up forced redistribution, that is, driven by strong leftist -isms and no doubt, Dem interest-group-oriented spoils-system vote-buying intent

    DOWN goes the state again and further, if successful

  3. “The study, Portrait of California by Measure of America, found that….”

    Wow, their study confirmed their pre-existing beliefs. Total rubbish!

    The Dems control the State of California, lock, stock and barrel and yet they say things like this:

    “Democrats acknowledge that more work needs to be done. “California’s progressive revenues are funding the state at record levels, but inequity remains,” said state Sen. Nancy Skinner of Berkeley, who supports increased investment in affordable housing and infrastructure.”

    So, whose fault is it that we have “inequities?” If you want to know who is responsible for the failure to conjure up your utopia, look in the mirror. You keep fooling the BIPOC and the useful idiots into believing that you are going to do something but you never do. You merely buy more votes with the taxpayers money. ?

  4. CA’s primary revenue is from income taxes – it has the highest personal income tax rates from 9.3% to 13.3%.

    Millionaires & billionaires contribute a disproportionate share of tax revenue –
    so much so that the top 1% of taxpayers generate 50% of personal income tax receipts.

    “According to the CA Legislative Analyst’s Office,
    50% of the state’s personal income tax revenue comes from those making $500,000 or more. Conversely,
    households making $50,000 or less
    make up nearly 60% of all tax filings but make up just 2% of revenue.”

    – households making $100K – $200K account for 18% of revenue.
    – households making $200K – $300K account for 11% of revenue.
    – households making $300K – $500K account for ~11% of revenue.

    “CA’s income taxes are over 5x more Volatile than personal income because they also include investment gains, (capital gains, partnership income and dividends, interest and rent)… ”

    Boom & Bust:
    “…in 2012, top employees (Facebook IPO) plumped state coffers with an estimated $2.5 billion..”
    “…in 2009, (Great Recession) the state faced multiple years of multi-billion dollar deficits, including a shortfall of $39.5 billion in 2009…”

    CA revenue is dependent on the fortunes of a handful of Super Wealthy Patrons and the Stock Market.
    “Just 1% of Income Taxpayers, about 150,000 families in a state of 40 million people, account for nearly 50% of Income Taxes”

    Is it any wonder Elon Musk said “Bye, Bye” to High Taxes and Over-Regulation
    and moved Tesla HQ & new manufacturing to Texas?

  5. ………
    CA mandate & lockdown Lunacy…
    Meet Karma…. or Meet Carma?

    Tesla Stock up over 11% today…

    Elon Musk avoids $2.3 – $2.5 Billion in CA state tax liability
    By moving to a “Free State”
    after $16.4 Billion in stock sales.

  6. This whole scheme reeks of racism. That’s exactly what it is, because racial groups are being specifically targeted for tax money that’s denied to other races.

    These people want state tax money to be handed out based specifically on racism. That’s their proposed criteria. How can that possibly be legal?

    Racism is illegal no matter what it’s called. The pretext here is to lay the blame everywhere but where it belongs: on an individual’s effort or lack of effort. It is not the fault of others if an individual is too lazy to get out of bed and look for a job, or enroll in a college or a trade school in order to get a job that will put them into the middle class. If the average Asian or Caucasian can do it, a Hispanic or Black can certainly do it too. Millions have already done it.

    The article whines:

    Whites and Asians, for example, were three times more likely to have a bachelor’s degree as Latinos, the index noted. Similarly, Black women’s college enrollment rate is almost 4 percentage points lower than white women.

    So? Whose fault is THAT?

    Why won’t the average Black or Latino do what it takes? The answer cannot possibly be due to a lack of support, with the endless federal, state, and local programs, handouts, counseling, cash grants, rent subsidies, ‘free’ schooling, &etc. that’s available for self-improvement.

    Any of them could be on their way to enjoying a comfortable middle class lifestyle if they take advantage of what’s already available. Instead, this new demand is to give free money to race-specific groups, rather than individuals. Could the reason be that individuals won’t share what they have? But groups are much easier to swindle; it’s done all the time.

    Why is it presumed that an individual’s failure is the fault of others? Within the same “disadvantaged” racial groups cited, there are hundreds of thousands of individuals who had the gumption to enroll in one of the state’s many ‘free’ colleges. If all those folks can do it, why is there a presumption that the reason the others won’t do the same thing is because of (the heavily implied) white racism?

    These arrogant do-gooders are arguing over tax money that’s extorted from hard working taxpayers. Their demand is that it should be wasted, instead of telling the layabouts to get up before 11 a.m. and apply for some jobs, or enroll in a ‘free’ local college and earn a degree that enables them to get a good job.

    Racism is illegal, both nationally and in this state, but what they’re proposing here is ipso facto racism. What would they say if the tables were turned, and we were arguing about sending state tax money to Caucasian-only groups?

    Their end game is clear: extort as much tax money as they can, and hand it to race-specific groups, based on their hatred and envy of a race whose average member does whatever is necessary to succeed financially. But rather than counsel individuals in their group to emulate the qualities that lead to financial success, they want to punish the most successful ones.

    The only way to actually help people is by providing the freedom necessary for every individual to succeed or fail based on their ability, without regard to factors beyond their control. Large subsets of every group become successful, therefore success can be achieved by individuals in any group. That makes the demands of these racists tantamount to theft.

    Isn’t it time for everyone to finally admit that these programs are abject failures?

    People aren’t successful because they belong to a racial group. Success is determined by each individual — and their success has very little to do with external factors.


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