Go local on housing, forget the surplus: Advice for the new governor from economists

When Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom is sworn in on Jan. 7, he will inherit record economic prosperity. California has a projected $15 billion budget surplus and a 4.1 percent unemployment rate. But we also are in the second-longest economic expansion in state history, so no one is expecting the party to last.

CALmatters asked economists up and down the state for their advice for the incoming governor. Their responses suggest Newsom will have his work cut out for him. California’s high poverty rate is being exacerbated by the housing crisis and a yawning wealth gap. Social and economic inequality are growing. California’s outsized footprint in goods movement makes it especially vulnerable to international trade wars. And climate-driven disasters have forced the whole state to confront the high costs of reconstruction and prevention.

Here’s what the economists have to say.

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