California governor names Steyer, Yellen and tech CEOs to business recovery task force

Key Points
  • Gov. Newsom to lean on Tom Steyer, Janet Yellen, Bob Iger and Tim Cook among others as he prepares to reopen California's economy.
  • The economic task force will meet twice a month through 2020.
Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom on coronavirus crisis
Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom on coronavirus crisis

Billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer, who launched an expensive unsuccessful presidential campaign, will co-chair a task force in California that will focus on getting the economy up and running again.

The panel, announced on Friday by Gov. Gavin Newsom, will be composed of more than 70 members including former Chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen, Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger and Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Steyer's co-chair will be Newsom's chief of staff Ann O'Leary, a former senior advisor to Hilary Clinton.

The task force's goal is to help Californian's recover as fast as possible from the economic calamity resulting from the coronavirus.

The economic task force will meet twice a month through 2020.

California's economy is the fifth largest in the world and Newsom has acknowledged the stunning economic toll of the coronavirus.

A record 2.7 million Californians have filed for unemployment benefits in the last month, according to the governor.

The Newsom administration projects the unemployment rate could top records set during the 2009 Great Recession when close to 13% of Californian's were unemployed.

Despite California being the most populous state in the country and containing two densely packed cities – San Francisco and Los Angeles – a relatively low 28,000 cases have been confirmed in the state, including 970 deaths, according to California's Health Department.

By contrast, New York has confirmed more than 222,000 cases and more than 12,000 deaths. 

Newsom has been out front of American's coronavirus crisis, issuing a stay-at-home order for the state on March 19, making California the first in the country to do so.

Earlier this week he outlined a framework for reopening the economy, along with west coast neighbors Oregon and Washington.

Newsom has declined to give a timeline for when stay-at-home orders would be lifted, it currently extends through May 3 statewide and longer in places like Los Angeles which has an order in effect until May 15.

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