gavin newsom outlines priorities at council forum

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom visited the Bay Area Council on Tuesday to talk about his bid to become California’s next governor and share his insights on the issues that he is making a priority for the campaign. The former San Francisco mayor highlighted three main “buckets” on which he is most focused, including the state’s growing public pension liabilities and an aging population, energy and climate change, and the workforce implications of changing technology and globalization.

Newsom said pension and other post-retirement benefit obligations are among the fastest-growing segment of municipal spending, squeezing out other important priorities and putting cities at increasing financial risk. He talked about the challenges for the state in meeting aggressive clean energy and climate goals and said the advent of artificial intelligence and other technologies along with increasing economic globalization will pose major policy challenges for the next governor in addressing the impact on the current and future workforce.

In a wide-ranging conversation moderated by Council CEO Jim Wunderman, Newsom also discussed California’s housing crisis, homelessness, the need for more investment in early education, and the opportunity to leverage public private partnerships in addressing the state’s massive infrastructure needs, among other topics. The gubernatorial frontrunner emphasized the importance of pursuing regional solutions to vexing problems like homelessness that don’t abide county lines. He was extremely critical of a measure on the November ballot in San Francisco that would raise taxes on business to increase spending on homeless programs and services by up to $300 million – a misguided approach he said will only make the problem worse.

The forum was one of a series that the Council has convened with gubernatorial candidates since the spring, and we soon will be announcing a final forum with Republican candidate John Cox.

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