Politics & Government

The Buzz: Jerry Brown explains California’s poverty rate

Jerry Brown explains California’s poverty rate

Gov. Jerry Brown’s pronouncements of California’s economic recovery have been criticized by Republicans who point out the state’s high poverty rate, and he has an explanation for the numbers.

Brown was asked Wednesday on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” about two indicators – the state’s nation-high poverty rate under an alternative calculation that includes cost of living, and the large number of Californians who are unemployed or marginally employed and looking for work.

“That’s true,” he said, “because California is a magnet.”

“People come here from all over in the world, close by from Mexico and Central America and farther out from Asia and the Middle East,” Brown added.

“So, California beckons, and people come. And then, of course, a lot of people who arrive are not that skilled, and they take lower-paying jobs. And that reflects itself in the economic distribution.”

The Democrat’s remarks aired the same day the U.S. Census Bureau reported an alternative poverty rate in California of 23.8 percent.

“So, yeah, it’s there,” he said, “but it’s really the flip side of California’s incredible attractiveness and prosperity.”

David Siders


California officials this week touted the state’s strong showing in a new national survey of energy efficiency. The state finished second in the scorecard compiled by the Washington, D.C.-based American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Massachusetts was No. 1 for the third year in a row. Andrew McAllister of the California Energy Commission attributed California’s high rank to its standards on home appliances and new construction, utility rebate programs, and the increase in zero-emission and electric vehicles.

Jim Miller