Category archive


California keeps adding low-wage jobs. Can it find a way to save its middle class?

in Economy

California is becoming less equal every day.

The state’s 100 richest residents had $815.5 billion in net worth as of September 2020, up 18% from 2019, according to Forbes.

Yet Rey Justo and his family of six in Sacramento were living between a Honda Pilot and his in-law’s living room.

The top 1% of Californians earned at least $659,000 in 2020.

But Omar Yacoubi was putting in a 12-hour workday driving for Uber in the Bay Area last year after he found himself without a stable gig as a software designer.

“Income inequality has risen sharply in California over the past two decades, increasing faster in the state than in the nation as a whole.” A researcher at the Public Policy Institute of California, Deborah Reed, said that more than two decades ago, in 1999.

In the intervening years, California spent billions to fight poverty. A tech boom led Californians to gain billions in wealth.

Continue Reading on The Modesto Bee.

Record revenues expected in California Budget proposal

in Economy

Governor Gavin Newsom last week submitted his 2021-22 State Budget proposal to the Legislature – a record $227.2 billion fiscal blueprint that is a staunch reversal from summer fears of a drop in California revenue.

The proposal provides funding for immediate COVID-19 response and relief efforts where Californians need it most while making investments for an equitable, inclusive and broad-based economic recovery. The Budget has benefited from stock market gains and income growth among the state’s wealthiest residents, which paints a picture of disconnect between California’s affluent and those who are struggling due to COVID-19.

“In these darkest moments of the COVID-19 pandemic, this Budget will help Californians with urgent action to address our immediate challenges and build towards our recovery,” Newsom said in a statement. “As always, our Budget is built on our core California values of inclusion, economic growth and a brighter future for all. The Budget makes progress towards the goal I set when taking office to harness California’s spirit of innovation and resilience and put the California Dream within reach of more Californians. I look forward to working with the Legislature to enact these critical immediate and longer-term priorities for our state for the 40 million who call the Golden State home.”

Continue Reading on Turlock Journal

Grant funds from cannabis tax available to fight impaired driving

in Economy

The California Highway Patrol has nearly $27 million in grant funds available to help local communities combat impaired driving.

The funding is the result of Proposition 64, the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which provided specified cannabis tax funding to the CHP to administer local grants for education, prevention, and enforcement programs regarding impaired driving.  Funding for the grants comes from a tax on the cultivation and sale of cannabis and cannabis products sold in California since January 2018.

For the current grant cycle, the CHP’s Cannabis Tax Fund Grant Program will be awarding grants based on a competitive process to California law enforcement agencies and local toxicology laboratories meeting the eligibility requirements described in the 2021 Request for Application, available on the CHP website.  

The CHP will hold a virtual workshop on Jan. 6, 2021, to answer questions from potential grant applicants regarding the application process, the 2021 Request for Application, administrative program regulations, and other general questions.

Continue Reading on Turlock Journal

California gas prices second highest in country

in Economy

While a third of the country’s states saw gas prices decrease over the past weeks, California is one of only 10 that posted increases at the pump.

Hawaii ($3.21) and California ($3.14) remain the most expensive markets in the country, according to AAA gasoline analysts. Washington ($2.79), Oregon ($2.66), Nevada ($2.64), Alaska ($2.52) and Arizona ($2.35) follow.

“During the last month, demand has averaged about 8.6 million b/d while, gasoline stocks have steadily declined,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Week by week, we are seeing mostly regional fluctuation at the pump based on gasoline supply and demand.”

At 8.6 million b/d, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) measures demand at a 1% decrease week-over-week, 9% increase month-over-month and a 6% decrease year-over-year. Meanwhile, gasoline stocks measure at a 1% weekly decline, a 3% decrease month-over-month, but a 7% increase compared to last year.

Continue Reading on Turlock Journal

Turlock farmers market celebrates opening day

in Economy

As businesses throughout Turlock begin to reopen with precautions during the coronavirus pandemic, one of the community’s favorite places to gather and shop returned to Main Street on Saturday with the new season of the Turlock Certified Farmers Market.

The downtown market filled with locally grown produce and handcrafted goods typically opens during the first weekend of May, but stay-at-home orders throughout the state forced the TCFM Board to postpone the outdoor shopping event until June. It was TCFM Board President Brandon Follett’s hope that despite nearby markets starting back up at that time, a later opening date would put TCFM in step with other downtown businesses as they were slowly allowed to reopen.

Continue Reading on Turlock Journal

Turlock advisory committee recommends sales tax, public safety restructuring

in Economy/People

Economic crisis is now a reality for the City of Turlock and as City Council members look for a way out, a citizen advisory committee is offering a roadmap of possibilities that could lead to not only financial solvency, but a brighter future for the City as well.

In January, the Turlock Community Priorities Advisory Committee was created to look at policy-level changes and priorities over the next one to five years that could stabilize the General Fund, identify priorities for services and service standards to guide the City Council in making near-term reductions or deferrals of City services and provide guidance on potential new revenue sources.

The group was led by Legacy Health Foundation CEO Jeffrey Lewis and made up of a group of business owners and leaders, financial experts, representatives from the Turlock Unified School District and Stanislaus State and at-large community members with at least one from each Council district chosen by former Interim City Manager Michael Cooke.

Continue Reading on Turlock Journal

‘A little bit of normalcy’ | Stanislaus County flea markets are making cautious comeback

in business/Economy

TURLOCK, Calif. — After being closed for six weeks, the Turlock Flea Market is joining other markets in the county by reopening their doors.

Back in March, the market, which has been going since the '30s, closed for the first time since World War 2, according to David Linn, manager for the market.

"The why is pretty self-explanatory," said Linn, referring to the coronavirus pandemic.

While the market was categorized as a farmers market and didn't have to close, Linn said it came down to the cons outweighing the pros. They didn't want big crowds at their market to be a source of spread for the virus.
Continue Reading on ABC 10

Getting back to normal? Stanislaus County sees a surge in coronavirus infections

in Economy/People

Stanislaus County has trailed behind other areas marred by the coronavirus, and now infections are increasing in the county and its nine cities.

In the past week, county public health reported 68 new cases of people sickened by COVID-19, after the county caseload had remained under 100 for a month.

Since a shortage of supplies limits testing to those with worsening symptoms, it means 24 more people in Modesto wrestling with the dangerous respiratory illness and capable of spreading it to others. Ceres and Turlock had 10 and 8 new cases, respectively, and the unincorporated area had 9.

Continue Reading on The Modesto Bee

IRS slow to tell taxpayers how to get stimulus checks: People ‘need these payments ASAP’

in Economy

The Internal Revenue Service has not released information on how people should prepare to get the checks Congress promised when it passed a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus package last week.

The IRS says it will deposit your stimulus check to your bank account or mail it to your address based on your 2019 or 2018 filed tax return. But if you need to change or update your information – ensuring you’ll receive it sooner and in the right place – they have no answers on how to fix that yet.

The checks should be $1,200 for most adults and $500 for most dependents. At the section of the IRS website meant for coronavirus updates, which the IRS has directed people to visit, it specifically says there is no new information on the checks.

Continue Reading on The Sacramento Bee

Coronavirus hits home for renters, landlords alike

in business/Economy

The coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly every facet of everyday life, leaving many renters, landlords and property management companies uncertain about the future.

At Stanislaus State, where in-person classes have been cancelled, students looking to move back home are flocking to social media messaging boards in an effort to find prospective tenants to take over their leases. Student Priyanka Chand has already moved back to her home in Stockton, she said, but is still responsible for paying $890 per month for her master bedroom in a shared student apartment at The Vista until the end of July.

“Because classes have converted online, there was really no point for me to stay there any longer because there’s no reason to be on campus,” Chand said. “I’m trying to get out of my lease, but management has been very uncooperative.”

Continue Reading on Turlock Journal

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