California Governor Gavin Newsom congratulated his state in a tweet on New Year’s Day that claimed: “We’ve accomplished so much in CA by standing up for our values and taking on some of the biggest issues.”
Happy New Year! What an incredible decade. We’ve accomplished so much in CA by standing up for our values and taking on some of the biggest issues — from healthcare to gun violence to climate change.
Let’s keep it going.
Here’s to 2020 and the decade ahead!!
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) January 1, 2020
It is not clear what accomplishments Newsom was citing, but he claimed credit for “taking on” the following issues:
- Health care: California is hardly leading the nation in health care, but became the first to offer free health care to illegal aliens last year, covering low-income individuals under age 25. The state legislature also considered expanding free health care to illegal aliens over 65 years old, paid for entirely by the state’s own taxpayers.
- Gun violence: Despite having gun control laws that are among the most aggressive in the country, including an assault weapons ban, California led the nation in “mass slayings” in 2019, the Associated Press reported.
- Climate change: Despite having the most ambitious climate change policy of any state, with a cap-and-trade system for fossil fuels and a goal of “zero emissions” by 2045, the state has a negligible effect on global surface temperatures. In 2018, massive wildfires, which were blamed in part on aging power infrastructure and poor forest management, released enough carbon dioxide to equal one year of electricity use in the state.
California has experienced strong economic growth and saw state finances rebound from deficits at the start of the decade. Under Newsom’s predecessor, Gov. Jerry Brown, the state even began saving money in a rainy day fund.
However, the past decade also saw massive growth in inequality in the state, the most visible sign of which was the rise in homelessness. The most recent statistics show that the state is “entirely” responsible for the nationwide rise in homelessness (though that may partly be due to the migration of homeless people from colder, less generous states).
California also lags behind other states in education, ranking 38th out of 50 in a recent study. Overall, according to a U.S. News report in 2018, California ranks worst in the nation for quality of life, thanks to the high cost of living.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.