AM Alert: Dissatisfied with wealth gap, voters disagree on solution

07/02/2014 7:27 AM

07/02/2014 7:40 AM

Majorities of Californians, regardless of political affiliation, are dissatisfied with wealth and income distribution in the state, according to the latest Field Poll. But voters are politically divided over what the state should be doing to address the gap between the rich and everyone else, which they tend to agree is greater than in the past.

Eighty-one percent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents believe the government should be doing a lot or some to reduce the wealth gap, compared to 46 percent of Republicans. While 45 percent of Republicans believe the government should be doing not much or nothing, only 20 percent of independents and 12 percent of Democrats agree.

One proposed solution that has gotten plenty of attention in the Legislature is raising the minimum wage. It increased to $9 an hour Tuesday, but a failed bill this session would have boosted it to $13 an hour by 2017.

A majority of Democrats and independents believe the state should be raising the minimum wage above its already scheduled increases, but slightly over half of Republicans think the current increases are adequate.

David Siders has more in his story from today's paper. Here are the statistical tabulations, prepared exclusively for Capitol Alert, as well as the publicly released results from the poll.

VIDEO: Though the votes have finally been counted, the drama is not over yet in the state controller's race, Dan Walters says.

ART BREAK: In memory of Hassan Alawsi, an Iraqi artist and refugee who was killed in an apparent hate crime in south Sacramento in March, Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, will display Alawsi's work in his office for the month of July. The art will be unveiled during a reception at noon in Room 6005 of the Capitol.

RISING RATES: Arguing that almost 1 million Californians are charged unreasonable health insurance rates, Consumer Watchdog and the California Nurses Association will rally at 12:30 p.m. at the north entrance of the Capitol in support of Proposition 45, a November ballot measure that would allow the insurance commissioner to reject rate increases. The initiative will be the subject of an informational hearing, jointly held by the Senate and Assembly health committees, at 1:30 p.m. in Room 4203 of the Capitol.

HEAR ME OUT: The Senate and Assembly public employee and retirement committees hold a joint hearing on equal employment opportunity and diversity in the state civil service, 10 a.m. in Room 113. The Senate Select Committee on Mental Health examines the impacts of California's behavioral health programs, 11 a.m. in Room 112.

FAREWELL: Congratulations to Mark Hedlund, communications director for Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, who is retiring this week. Steinberg's office hosts a sendoff for Hedlund, who also spent 34 years as a journalist, 4 p.m. at de Vere's Irish Pub on L Street.

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