As California confronts another extended drought and its impacts, it is more obvious than ever that the state has failed to address its water supply and management challenges for far too long. The immediate fallout of the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in is frightening: local residents with wells running dry; urban water rationing and critical shortages; massive fallowing of some of the nation’s most productive agricultural land and the resulting impacts on food prices; and significant uncertainty about our ability to adapt to the future.
Tom Steyer, a one-time Democratic presidential candidate who has spent a portion of his multi-billion dollar fortune supporting environmental causes, thinks the path to California’s economic recovery during the coronavirus pandemic will begin with clean energy jobs. Steyer in April was named co-chair for the state’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery, along with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s chief of staff Ann O’Leary.
Democrats who control California’s Legislature on Monday proposed a $100 billion economic stimulus plan that relies on what they are calling “future tax vouchers” along with speeding up other spending during the coronavirus pandemic.
The plan would allow state Treasurer Fiona Ma to issue tax vouchers that proponents said could raise billions of dollars, though they said it was too soon to provide a more detailed estimate.
The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting urban and rural communities across California. Congress is exploring economic recovery legislation that includes investments in workforce development and infrastructure. And in Sacramento, there have been discussions about focusing future climate and natural resource bonds on economic recovery.
As federal and state decision-makers evaluate the options, they should consider putting Californians to work on improving the health of the state’s headwater forests. This approach would alleviate economic hardships while reducing wildfire risk and generating a suite of other benefits for forest-based communities and the state.
The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been devastating, and California must continue to act decisively to help mitigate the damage.
As a California state senator representing the 8th Senate District, I have learned heartbreaking stories from employees and business owners who are seeing their dreams and investments dismantled. If lucky enough to have employment, many working parents are forced to juggle work with the new demands of homeschooling, often while vulnerable elderly fend for themselves in solitude. As a father of two school-aged children with elderly parents this hits close to home.