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California tax revenue is soaring

August 23, 2019

By Dan Walters : CalMatters – excerpt

It’s the good news that California’s political establishment—Democratic politicians and their allies in public-employee labor unions—prefer not to acknowledge.

The official line from the establishment is that California’s schools, local governments and state programs are being financially starved.

The drumbeat of impoverishment is clearly aimed at persuading Californians, particularly voters, that vital services can be rescued from imminent collapse only by raising taxes.

One such tax increase—making it easier to levy property taxes on commercial land and buildings—is already on the 2020 ballot. Another—raising income taxes again on those at the top of the economic ladder—is being drafted by education groups.

Hundreds of local tax increases, sales taxes mostly, have been placed before voters in the past couple of election cycles, and more are being planned for 2020.

However, the reality is at odds with the propaganda.

California state and local coffers are bulging with additional revenue, thanks largely to a still-vibrant economy… (more)

Time to say enough already. NO MORE TAXES!

Housing Crisis? Not so fast…

August 23, 2019

By Michael Barnes : mb4labany – excerpt (includes charts and graphs)

Here in California we are bombarded with news about our “housing crisis.” State politicians have used the housing crisis as justification for removing local control of zoning and handing carrots to developers. We are told that the Bay Area is the “epicenter” of the housing crisis.

Politicians and pundits who use this overblown language should review some of the reports available from state agencies and business sources. Those reports paint a far more nuanced picture…

San Francisco is not the epicenter of the housing crisis

Under the standard definition, any household that spends more than 30 percent of its gross income on rent is considered rent-burdened…

The HCD report takes a slightly different approach, but the results are much the same. In the chart below, counties are ranked by the average percentage of income spent on housing and transportation…HCD-126-small-768x469.jpg

The report shows that not only does San Francisco have a low rent burden, it also has a low transportation cost burden due to access to mass transit and jobs that are close to housing. Together these two charts show that despite the myths, San Francisco is not the epicenter of the state’s housing crisis…

California has a severe shortage of affordable housing

Statewide there is a shortage of 1.5 million housing units for very low- and extremely low-income residents. These income categories are defined based on household income with respect the local area median income (AMI). The county is usually the area used in the definition. Extremely low income is defined as less than 30 percent of AMI, while very low income is 30 to 50 percent of AMI…

California’s population growth has slowed dramatically

Housing estimates have to account for population growth. In recent years, this issue has grown more complicated. Population growth has slowed tremendously in the last few years and is falling well behind projections, but in very uneven ways…


Source: DOF E-5 Population and Housing Estimates.

The table above is derived from the population estimates of the California Department of Finance demographic unit. It shows the figures for the state, selected large counties and all nine Bay-Area counties. Population for the state and various counties is shown for the years 2010, 2018 and 2019 (in blue on the left). On the right (in green) we see the total percent change from 2010-19, the annual average for the nine-year period, and the annual percent change for 2018-19…

Proposed housing is sufficient to meet statewide growth since 2010

A comparison of population growth data, along with proposed housing projects, tells another interesting and complex story. The table below is derived from the Dept. of Finance population figures combined with estimates from the Construction Industry Research Board (CIRM) report of housing projects in the pipeline…






Big Telecom tries another deregulation scam in Sacramento

August 19, 2019

By Chris Whitteman and Tracy Rosenberg : 48hills – excerpt

In the name of protecting internet calls, bill would eliminate state control over pretty much every type of telecommunications in California.

They’re at it again. After losing in their attempt to torpedo net neutrality protections in California, Assembly members are back with a new and better way to make life easier for AT&T and Comcast.

California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’ AB 1366 would effectively keep California’s telecommunications network beyond the oversight of the California Public Utilities Commission or any other regulatory agency in California. The trick is to say that the CPUC can’t touch anything running with Internet Protocol, which now means pretty much all of the modern telecom network.

How is it possible– at a time when reliable and accessible communications networks are more essential than ever in California, when the State is dealing with wildfires and other climate-induced emergencies, and when most Californians’ only choice for home broadband is the cable monopolist – that the Legislature seems intent on extending the deregulation of the companies that own and operate California’s communication network?… (more)

Beating our heads against the wall

August 14, 2019

Opinion – (download doc)

How many times must we make the same mistakes before we try something different?

There is a lot of talk about the failures of the MTC and ABAG and the loss of trust the public has in our state government to solve the housing and traffic problems they are accused of creating. I will take a more local view of the effects the plans have had on San Francisco neighborhoods.

There is a hysterical knee-jerk reaction to the homeless situation that might be amusing if it were not so sad. The media keeps parroting claims that we can build our way out of the housing shortage if we just get rid of all our local controls. More growth and faster production is the only solution. Where is this plan working in our city? Where are the streets and sidewalks safe, clean and clear and where does the traffic flow better than before?

Most agree that the MTC has failed to solve the traffic problem. many would like to curb the authority of the regional organizations, yet, our state representatives are working on bills to turn the regional transit authority into a housing development organization.

There are also bills pending that would allow the development arm of the MTC to increase taxes, fines and fees without voter approval of such increase, handing that privilege to the regional overlords. Taxation without representation. What has happened to our state? What will it take to stop this?…

Read more…

Neoliberalism Has Met Its Match in China

August 14, 2019

By Ellen Brown : truthdig – excerpt

When the Federal Reserve cut interest rates last week, commentators were asking why. According to official data, the economy was rebounding, unemployment was below 4% and gross domestic product growth was above 3%. If anything, by the Fed’s own reasoning, it should have been raising rates.

Market pundits explained that we’re in a trade war and a currency war. Other central banks were cutting their rates, and the Fed had to follow suit in order to prevent the dollar from becoming overvalued relative to other currencies. The theory is that a cheaper dollar will make American products more attractive in foreign markets, helping our manufacturing and labor bases.

Over the weekend, President Trump followed the rate cuts by threatening to impose, on Sept. 1, a new 10% tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese products. China responded by suspending imports of U.S. agricultural products by state-owned companies and letting the value of the yuan drop. On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped nearly 770 points, its worst day in 2019. The war was on… (more)

At ,least he pays attention to Wall Street. His threats are already on hold.

Mayor Lee’s ‘jobs agenda’ made life worse for many San Franciscans

August 14, 2019

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – ecerpt

New study shows that attracting high-skilled tech jobs to cities in the name of creating jobs has a net negative impact on the working-class population

The late Mayor Ed Lee called it the “jobs agenda.” When he took office, the city was coming out of the recession, and he did everything he possibly could to attract new tech companies to San Francisco.

The idea, he said, was to promote employment growth, to get the city’s unemployed people back to work. Not all of them would get high-skilled tech jobs, of course – but as the economist Enrico Moretti insisted, every new tech job created five more jobs in the service economy that would be available to lower-skilled workers…(more)

Jim LaMattery shared his interview with Corey Briggs on State intrusion into local housing decisions.

August 14, 2019

From JAMES LA MATTERY, of San Diego : (includes video link)

Here’s a link to my interview with Briggs on State intrusion into local housing decisions.

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