|Nickname||The Golden State|
|Governor||Jerry Brown, D|
|Senator||Dianne Feinstein, D |
|Senator||Barbara Boxer, D |
|Ratification of Constitution/or statehood||September 9, 1850 (31st)|
|Motto: Eureka (I have found it)|
California, known as the Golden State, became the 31st state on September 9, 1850. It is located on the west coast of the United States, by the Pacific Ocean and bordered by Oregon, Nevada and Arizona. It is the largest state in population and the third largest state in area. Its governor is Jerry Brown. As of 2011 it is virtually bankrupt. It has served as a poster child for liberalism and Hollywood values since the 1960s, especially San Francisco. It is estimated that California is now losing an estimated 500,000 people statewide every year .
- 1 Economy
- 2 Another budget crisis
- 3 History
- 4 Miscellaneous facts
- 5 Politics
- 6 Business climate
- 7 Budget Crises
- 8 Elected officials
- 9 Energy
- 10 Spectator Sports
- 11 Education
- 12 Places of Interest
- 13 Major Cities
- 14 External Links
- 15 References
The economy has been badly battered by the Recession of 2008, especially by the collapse of the state's housing bubble. Unemployment in Aug. 2009 reached 12.2%, the highest since 1940. Home building this year is less than a quarter of what it was in 2005, and 500,000 of the state’s job losses have been in construction, finance, real estate and industries related to construction. The state budget is in crisis, because it relied heavily on personal income taxes. The financial collapse greatly reduced personal wealth of rich Californians, and job losses related to the housing bust combined to sharply reduce that source of revenue. After bitter debate in the legislature a budget was passed in July 2009. It closed a roughly $24 billion two-year gap with extensive cuts to social services, parks and education, which in turn reduced consumer spending among laid off and furloughed government workers.
Another budget crisis
An ugly budget crisis in 2009 was resolved after months of squabbling, with budget cuts, accounting gimmicks, and new taxes. The legislature in 2009 cut billions from education, healthcare and social services while temporarily hiking income, sales and vehicle taxes. The 2010 budget deficit is projected at $21 billion which must be closed somehow.
Suggested solutions include raising tobacco taxes; cutting pensions for retired public workers; repealing corporate tax breaks passed in 2008 and 2009; revising the tax rules for commercial and residential property; reducing the 2/3 legislative vote needed to pass a budget; and strengthening the firewall that protects local government and transportation money from being raided by the state. "There's a lot of people putting chess pieces on the board right now," said Jon Coupal, president of the anti-tax Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. "The question is which of those chess pieces will be moving."
- California surpassed France in 2000 to become the fifth largest economy in the world
- Los Angeles hosted the Summer Olympics in 1932 and 1984.
- San Bernardino County is the largest county by area in the United States; Los Angeles is the largest by population. 
- Since 2000, California has offered domestic partnerships, which are similar to same sex marriage. Same-sex marriage was briefly legal in 2008, but this ended when Proposition 8, a voter referendum to define marriage as only being between a man and woman, passed.
From 2003-2011 California's governor was liberal Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. This is the same position that was once held by conservative icon Ronald Reagan in 1966-74. California is considered to be one of the "blue-est" states, consistently voting for Democratic legislative and Presidential candidates since 1992, mixed in with numerous Republican governors. The San Francisco area (called "the Bay Area") and Hollywood are the centers of liberalism; Southern California and the rural areas are much more conservative. Prior to 1992, California was consistently a red state.
California scores poorly in state ratings of business climate. In a CNBC survey, it ranked 32nd overall but last in "cost of business" and 49th in "business friendliness." IT (Intel, Google, Hewlett Packard, Cisco, Apple, Yahoo!) and biotechnology remain strengths, but some traditional industries are struggling. High costs, as well as tax breaks from other states, have caused movie studios to shift production from Southern California. In 1996, feature films involved 14,500 production days in the Los Angeles area; in 2008, the total had fallen in half. Businessmen both in California and those who have moved out of the state have said that California has declared war on its own economy, with San Francisco taking particular delight in job killing legislation.
The state has had two severe budget crises in 2009, caused by high spending, a plunge in tax revenue (caused by the decline in income of the wealthy who pay most of the taxes), and a refusal of enough Republicans to provide the two-thirds majority in the legislature needed to raise taxes. Long term borrowing is not allowed--the state has to balance its budget annually, but many gimmicks are used.
With a $26 billion deficit in its $92 billion budget, the state ran out of money and issued IOU's (warrants) before the solution was reached: massive spending cuts. In February 2009, the Legislature raised the state sales tax, bringing the total -- including local sales taxes -- to about 9 cents or more. Top income tax rates, already among the highest in the country, were raised. So were motor vehicle registration fees. Spending cuts approved in February and July are deep. Together, the cuts equal almost 30% of the general revenue fund and will affect schools, prisons, colleges and welfare. Some welfare benefits will be cut by half. California's student-teacher ratio, now about a third above the national average, will probably go even higher. The high prestige University of California system lost 20% of its state payments. It is raising tuition and student fees by 9.3%, imposing salary reductions of 4% to 10% on more than 100,000 workers, and postponing faculty hires until a better day.
Republicans claimed victory in the end, as they achieved large budget cuts and no new taxes.
- Sen. Barbara Boxer [D, CA]
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein [D, CA]
- Rep. Mike Thompson [D, CA-1]
- Rep. Walter Herger [R, CA-2]
- Rep. Daniel Lungren [R, CA-3]
- Rep. Tom McClintock [R, CA-4]
- Rep. Doris Matsui [D, CA-5]
- Rep. Lynn Woolsey [D, CA-6]
- Rep. George Miller [D, CA-7]
- Rep. Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8]
- Rep. Barbara Lee [D, CA-9]
- Rep. John Garamendi [D, CA-10]
- Rep. Jerry McNerney [D, CA-11]
- Rep. Jackie Speier [D, CA-12]
- Rep. Fortney Stark [D, CA-13]
- Rep. Anna Eshoo [D, CA-14]
- Rep. Michael Honda [D, CA-15]
- Rep. Zoe Lofgren [D, CA-16]
- Rep. Sam Farr [D, CA-17]
- Rep. Dennis Cardoza [D, CA-18]
- Rep. Jeff Denham [R, CA-19]
- Rep. Jim Costa [D, CA-20]
- Rep. Devin Nunes [R, CA-21]
- Rep. Kevin McCarthy [R, CA-22]
- Rep. Lois Capps [D, CA-23]
- Rep. Elton Gallegly [R, CA-24]
- Rep. Howard McKeon [R, CA-25]
- Rep. David Dreier [R, CA-26]
- Rep. Brad Sherman [D, CA-27]
- Rep. Howard Berman [D, CA-28]
- Rep. Adam Schiff [D, CA-29]
- Rep. Henry Waxman [D, CA-30]
- Rep. Xavier Becerra [D, CA-31]
- Rep. Hilda Solis [D, CA-32]
- Rep. Karen Bass [D, CA-33]
- Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard [D, CA-34]
- Rep. Maxine Waters [D, CA-35]
- Rep. Jane Harman [D, CA-36]
- Rep. Laura Richardson [D, CA-37]
- Rep. Grace Napolitano [D, CA-38]
- Rep. Linda Sánchez [D, CA-39]
- Rep. Edward Royce [R, CA-40]
- Rep. Jerry Lewis [R, CA-41]
- Rep. Gary Miller [R, CA-42]
- Rep. Joe Baca [D, CA-43]
- Rep. Ken Calvert [R, CA-44]
- Rep. Mary Bono Mack [R, CA-45]
- Rep. Dana Rohrabacher [R, CA-46]
- Rep. Loretta Sanchez [D, CA-47]
- Rep. John Campbell [R, CA-48]
- Rep. Darrell Issa [R, CA-49]
- Rep. Brian Bilbray [R, CA-50]
- Rep. Bob Filner [D, CA-51]
- Rep. Duncan Hunter [R, CA-52]
- Rep. Susan Davis [D, CA-53]
- Governor Jerry Brown (D)
- Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom (D)
- Secretary of State Debra Bowen (D)
- Attorney General Steve Cooley (R)
- State Treasurer Bill Lockyer (D)
- State Controller John Chiang (D)
California is the most populous State in the Nation and its total energy demand is second only to Texas. Although California is a leader in the energy-intensive chemical, forest products, glass, and petroleum industries, the State has one of the lowest per capita energy consumption rates in the country. The California government’s energy-efficiency programs have contributed to low per capita energy consumption. Driven by high demand from California’s many motorists, major airports, and military bases, the transportation sector is the State’s largest energy-consumer. More motor vehicles are registered in California than any other State, and worker commute times are among the longest in the country.
California is one of the top producers of crude oil in the Nation, with output accounting for more than one-tenth of total U.S. production. Drilling operations are concentrated primarily in Kern County and the Los Angeles basin, although substantial production also takes place offshore in both State and Federal waters. Concerns regarding the cumulative impacts of offshore oil and gas development, combined with a number of major marine oil spills throughout the world in recent years, have led to a permanent moratorium on offshore oil and gas leasing in California waters and a deferral of leasing in Federal waters. However, development on existing State and Federal leases is not affected and may still occur within offshore areas leased prior to the effective date of the moratorium.
A network of crude oil pipelines connects production areas to refining centers in the Los Angeles area, the San Francisco Bay area, and the Central Valley. California refiners also process large volumes of Alaskan and foreign crude oil received at ports in Los Angeles, Long Beach, and the Bay Area. Crude oil production in California and Alaska is in decline and California refineries have become increasingly dependent on foreign imports. Led by Saudi Arabia and Ecuador, foreign suppliers now provide more than two-fifths of the crude oil refined in California; however, California’s dependence on foreign oil remains less than the national average.
California ranks third in the United States in petroleum refining capacity and accounts for more than one-tenth of total U.S. capacity. California’s largest refineries are highly sophisticated; they are capable of processing a wide variety of crude oil types and are designed to yield a high percentage of light products like motor gasoline. To meet strict Federal and State environmental regulations, California refineries are configured to produce cleaner fuels, including reformulated motor gasoline and low-sulfur diesel.
Most California motorists are required to use a special motor gasoline blend called California Clean Burning Gasoline (CA CBG). In the ozone non-attainment areas of Imperial County and the Los Angeles metropolitan area, motorists are required to use California Oxygenated Clean Burning Gasoline, and the Los Angeles area is also required to use oxygenated motor gasoline during the winter months. By 2004, California completed a transition from methyl tertiary butyl-ether (MTBE) to ethanol as a gasoline oxygenate additive, making California the largest ethanol fuel market in the United States. There are four ethanol production plants in central and southern California, but most of California’s ethanol supply is transported by rail from corn-based producers in the Midwest. Some supply is also imported from abroad.
Due to the relative isolation and specific requirements of the California fuel market, California motorists are particularly vulnerable to short-term spikes in the price of motor gasoline. No pipelines connect California to other major U.S. refining centers, and California refineries often operate at near maximum capacity due to high demand for petroleum products. When an unplanned refinery outage occurs, replacement supplies must be brought in via marine tanker. Locating and transporting this replacement gasoline (which must conform to the State’s strict fuel requirements) can take from two to six weeks.
California natural gas production typically accounts for less than 2 percent of total annual U.S. production and satisfies less than one-fifth of State demand. Production takes place in basins located in northern and southern California, as well as offshore in the Pacific Ocean. California receives most of its natural gas by pipeline from production regions in the Rocky Mountains, the Southwest, and western Canada. As with crude oil production, California natural gas production is in decline. However, State supply has remained relatively stable due to increasing amounts of natural gas shipped from the Rocky Mountains. California markets are served by two key natural gas trading centers—the Golden Gate Center in northern California and the California Energy Hub in southern California—and the State has nearly a dozen natural gas storage facilities that help stabilize supply. In part to help meet California’s demand for natural gas, several companies have proposed building liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminals in southern California.
Coal, Electricity, and Renewables
Natural gas-fired power plants typically account for more than one-half of State electricity generation. California is one of the largest hydroelectric power producers in the United States, and with adequate rainfall, hydroelectric power typically accounts for close to one-fifth of State electricity generation. California’s two nuclear power plants account for almost one-fifth of total generation. Due to strict emission laws, only a few small coal-fired power plants operate in California.
California leads the Nation in electricity generation from nonhydroelectric renewable energy sources. California generates electricity using wind, geothermal, solar, fuel wood, and municipal solid waste/landfill gas resources. A facility known as “The Geysers,” located in the Mayacamas Mountains north of San Francisco, is the largest complex of geothermal power plants in the world, with more than 750 megawatts of installed capacity. California has numerous wind farms in five major wind resource areas, and several new projects are currently under construction. The world’s largest solar power facility operates in California’s Mojave Desert. Two southern California utilities are planning to build new solar farms, a 500-megawatt facility in the Mojave Desert and a 300-megawatt plant in the Imperial Valley. These proposed plants would dwarf existing U.S. solar generation capacity. To further boost renewable energy use, California’s Energy Action Plan includes incentives that encourage Californians to install solar power systems on their rooftops.
Due to high electricity demand, California imports more electricity than any other State. States in the Pacific Northwest deliver power to California markets primarily from hydroelectric sources, while States in the Desert Southwest deliver power primarily from coal- and natural gas-fired sources. Hydroelectric power comes to California primarily through the Western USA interconnection, which runs from northern Oregon to southern California. The system, also known as the Pacific Intertie, is the largest single electricity transmission program in the United States. Although the Pacific Intertie was originally designed to transmit electricity south during California’s peak summer demand season, flow is sometimes reversed overnight and has occasionally been reversed during periods of reduced hydroelectric generation in the Northwest. California restricts the use of coal-fired generation within its boundaries; however, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) operates the coal-fired Intermountain power plant in Utah, which delivers three-fourths of its output to LADWP and other California municipal utilities. A recent California law forbids utilities from entering into long-term contracts with conventional coal-fired power producers. Intermountain’s existing contracts with southern California cities are set to expire in 2027.
In 2000 and 2001, California suffered an energy crisis characterized by electricity price instability and four major blackouts and caused by a supply and demand imbalance. Multiple factors contributed to this imbalance, including: a heavy dependence on out-of-State electricity providers, drought conditions in the northwest that reduced hydroelectric power generation, a rupture on a major natural gas pipeline supplying California power plants, strong economic growth leading to increased electricity demand in western States, an increase in unplanned power plant outages, and unusually high temperatures that increased electricity demand for air-conditioning and other cooling uses. Following the energy crisis, the California State government created an Energy Action Plan designed to eliminate outages and excessive price spikes. To achieve these goals, the plan calls for optimizing energy conservation, building sufficient new generation facilities, upgrading and expanding the electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure, and ensuring that generation facilities can quickly come online when needed.
California has more professional sports teams than any other state.
- NBA - Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings
- NHL - Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks
- NFL - Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, and San Diego Chargers
- Baseball - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, San Diego Padres, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers
The state of California has three tiers of public higher education: the California community colleges, the California State University (CSU) system, and the University of California (UC) system. Here are some notable universities from California.
- California Institute of Technology
- Stanford University
- University of California, Berkeley
- University of California, Los Angeles
- University of California, San Francisco, primarily a medical school
- University of Southern California
Places of Interest
- Shane Goldmacher, "California faces a projected deficit of $21 billion," LosAngeles Times Nov. 18, 2009
- See Energy Information Administration, State Report 2009