Ideas for Change

Reducing California’s Methane Emissions

Composting food scraps

Problem: The state has missed its 2020 target to reduce the amount of organic material deposited into landfills by 50 percent below 2014 levels and is poised to miss its 2025 target as well. Even if state estimates of increased processing capacity are met, California is likely to be short of the necessary capacity by approximately 8 million tons a year. More than a hundred local jurisdictions have sought an extension of the deadline for complying with the state’s requirements.

Recommendation: Given these problems, we believe the Legislature should enact a temporary pause to the implementation of SB 1383. Successfully achieving the goals will require changes in law and regulation, additional funding, and creating a more holistic approach to reducing landfill methane emissions. Local jurisdictions must be given a fair amount of time to make necessary changes. 

View Methane Emissions Report Fact Sheet (pdf)

California’s Developmental Disabilities Services System

Girl in wheelchair preparing to shoot a basketball

Problem: Each of the state’s 21 regional centers currently has discretion to establish its own processes to assess individuals for services, to determine the array of services offered, and to craft policies for providing information to those seeking help. This means the level of care can vary significantly for different individuals – even if they have similar needs. Further, Numerous research studies, as well as anecdotal evidence gathered through our investigation, show that there are pervasive disparities in the quality and availability of services among different racial and ethnic groups. 

Recommendation: The Department of Developmental Services should create a consistent intake process to be used by all regional centers. The Department and regional centers should use technology to make it easier for people to find out what services are available. The Legislature should require the Department to identify a standard set of core services that should be delivered by every regional center by 2025. Lawmakers should require the Department to create standard categories to measure the racial and ethnic characteristics of clients receiving services.

View Developmental Disabilities Report Fact Sheet (pdf)

Equitable Economic Development across California

Deserted street with businesses

Problem: The Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) commendably encourages regional development that balances economic growth, social equity, and environmental sustainability. Yet the program also encompasses a broad range of desired outcomes, without establishing clear precedence among its various goals. The risk is that when everything is a priority, nothing is. CERF is a four-year, $600 million program. Although this represents a significant investment in regional economies, it is only a drop in the bucket compared to the investment required to bend regional economic trajectories. Lifting up the economies of less prosperous regions will likely require billions in funding over decades.

Recommendation: The Governor, Legislature, and relevant state agencies should prioritize historically disadvantaged regions for funding within CERF and related programs. Policymakers should provide greater strategic clarity to CERF by focusing the program more clearly on the creation of quality jobs in sustainable industries with high growth potential and on connecting members of disadvantaged communities with the quality jobs created.

View Equitable Economic Development Report Fact Sheet (pdf)