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When it comes to jobs, not all budget solutions are equal

Ken Jacobs, chair, UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education | March 17, 2010

With 2.3 million Californians out of work, the California legislature should take care to minimize harm to the State’s economy as it works to close an estimated $20 billion budget gap. When it comes to jobs and the economy, not all budget solutions are equal. Social service and health programs like In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), Medi-Cal Healthy Families and CalWORKS bring in significant federal matching funds. Low-income residents spend a greater share of their earnings and spend more locally than higher income residents, so programs that provide income to lower-income families will have a greater multiplier effect than those that improve income of higher earning families.

The following chart from our recent policy brief provides a good picture of the differences in job outcomes from various budget solutions.

The state cannot afford to get this wrong.

The full report can be found here. Leighton Ku makes a related point about the stimulus effect of federal health care matches in Health Affairs blog here.