Drought or no drought: Jerry Brown sets permanent water conservation rules for Californians

Although he declared an end to California’s historic five-year drought last year, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed two new laws that will require cities and water districts across the state to set permanent water conservation rules, even in non-drought years.

“In preparation for the next drought and our changing environment, we must use our precious resources wisely,” Brown said in a statement. “We have efficiency goals for energy and cars – and now we have them for water.”

Brown signed two bills, SB 606 by Sen. Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) and AB 1668 by Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), that require cities, water districts and large agricultural water districts to set strict annual water budgets, potentially facing fines of $1,000 per day if they don’t meet them, and $10,000 a day during drought emergencies.

 

Read more at The Mercury News

Taxpayers lose again with new solar panel mandate

The California Energy Commission has announced new regulations to require rooftop solar panels on all new homes constructed in California beginning in 2020. This forced mandate represents an extraordinary regulatory overreach.

However, don’t expect too much political push-back against these new rules. Why? Because the “winners” who support the regulations have a lot more political juice than the “losers.”

Tops on the list of winners is, of course, the solar industry. When your business is the manufacturing and installation of solar panels, and you can get government to mandate the purchase of your product, you have a guaranteed customer base as well as a guaranteed revenue stream.  For solar companies, spending a few million dollars on political influence results in a great (return on investment).

 

Read more at Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association.

There is no loophole in Proposition 13

For decades, California progressives have complained about a “loophole” in Proposition 13 that unfairly benefits the owners of commercial real estate to the detriment of homeowners. This characterization has been widely accepted by the mainstream media with little critical analysis.

There is no loophole in Prop. 13.

There is, however, an ambiguity in the statute implementing the measure that relates to the “change of ownership” rules. That ambiguity can be easily addressed by a statutory amendment without doing violence to Prop. 13. Both the business community and the state’s preeminent taxpayer organization, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, agree that this change is necessary.

Senate Bill 1237, by state Sen. Patricia Bates, would address this technical tax issue involving fictitious entities such as limited liability corporations and complex partnerships in a way that is wholly consistent with Prop. 13.

 

Read more at the Orange County Register

Californians fed up with housing costs and taxes are fleeing state in big numbers

By Jeff Daniels at the CNBC

March 19, 2018

Californians may still love the beautiful weather and beaches, but more and more they are fed up with the high housing costs and taxes and deciding to flee to lower-cost states such as NevadaArizona and Texas.

“There’s nowhere in the United States that you can find better weather than here,” said Dave Senser, who lives on a fixed income near San Luis Obispo, California, and now plans to move to Las Vegas. “Rents here are crazy, if you can find a place, and they’re going to tax us to death. That’s what it feels like. At least in Nevada they don’t have a state income tax. And every little bit helps.”

Senser, 65, who previously lived in the east San Francisco Bay region, said housing costs and gas prices are “significantly lower in Las Vegas. The government in the state of California isn’t helping people like myself. That’s why people are running out of this state now.”

Read more on CNBC

This Man Wants to Build 2 Houses. California Regulations Have Stonewalled Him for 20 Years.

By John-Michael Seibler at The Daily Signal

March 16, 2018

Thomas Mahon never thought it would take 20 years to build two houses in California. But that’s exactly how long it’s taken—and his legal fight isn’t even over.

His fight shows how overregulation is driving the state’s current housing crisis. And some state politicians are promising to make things worse. The upshot is that other states can learn from California’s big-government failures and welcome ex-Californians with open housing markets.

State politicians know that building new homes is too costly, but they disagree over policy solutions. Some offer less regulation, while others promise more (including new housing quotas, more subsidized units, and reviving “redevelopment agencies” that the state eliminated in 2011 to save money). Less regulation would likely attract more investment for affordable housing, but a better bet would involve changing the state’s approach to property rights.

 

Read more on The Daily Signal

Rents rising faster in SLO County than anywhere else in California, data show

By Lindsey Holden and Phillip Reese at The Tribune

February 28, 2018

The cost to rent a two-bedroom home has risen more in San Luis Obispo County than anywhere else in the state over the last four years — up more than 50 percent since 2013, according to recent data.

As of December, residents here were now paying a median rent of $2,200 for a two-bedroom home, up from $1,429 in 2013, according to tracking firm Zillow.com.

Read more on The Tribune

Proposition 13 isn’t the problem, pensions and spending are

by The Editorial Board at The Orange County Register

January 1, 2018

Not for the first time, an effort is underway to persuade voters to “reform” Proposition 13 and raise property taxes.

“The California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act of 2018” was filed in mid-December with the attorney general’s office. It aims to raise $11 billion per year by removing Prop. 13 protections from industrial and commercial properties, reassessing them based on the unrealized, paper profits from rising real estate values.

However well-intentioned the backers of this initiative may be, it is reckless to impose a massive tax increase on nearly all California businesses, simultaneously and repeatedly.

If raising taxes was the solution to every problem, California would have no problems. The Golden State boasts the nation’s highest income tax rate and sales tax rate, and we’re within an eyelash of defeating Pennsylvania for the title of highest gas taxes.

Read more at The Orange County Register

Trying – and failing – to explain away California’s high crime rate

by Michele Hanisee in the California Political Review

December 21,2017

Imagine the reaction if, after a loan officer told an applicant they would not receive a loan because of too much debt, the applicant asked “How about we just disregard 25% of my debt?”

As illogical as this sounds, it was the approach recently articulated by a group seeking to downplay the crime rate increases in California following various criminal justice “reforms.”  In a study picked up by a few newspapers, the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJJ) opined that the crime rate statewide in California decreased following these reforms – if you excluded Los Angeles County.  Yes, Los Angeles County, where more than one out of four residents of California reside!

The propaganda espoused by proponents of these various reform measures is that crime is not really rising very much so long as it isn’t as bad as it was 30 years ago. They continue that trend with their attempt to manipulate the statewide crime rate increase by excluding more than 25% of the population.

Read more at California Political Review

No housing bubble in sight — and other predictions for 2018

by Katy Murphy at The Mercury News

December 12,2017

A real-estate site’s predictions for 2018 offer yet more disappointing news for would-be first-time homebuyers in California hoping that the New Year might bring some relief.

“The outlook for next year is rising prices, rising rates and rising property taxes,” said Redfin’s chief economist, Nela Richardson. “I wish I could have better news.”

Read more at The Mercury News

Kern County: Where the American dream is obtainable

by Kim Schaefer 

December 11,2017

There’s a reason homeownership is still considered the “American Dream.” A home is the best means for building wealth and a pathway to strength and stability in the communities we all call home.

Middle-class families have built wealth for centuries through homeownership and real estate investment. Homeownership allows families to protect themselves against rising rents and inflation, while offering an opportunity to build equity over time. Here in Kern County, things are no different.

For many California residents, homeownership is simply falling out of their reach. There is no denying that there is a housing crisis in California. It is difficult to turn on the television or open a paper without hearing about workers that are commuting farther and farther, contributing to traffic and pollution more than ever to have affordable housing. Many California households have no choice but to spend more than half of their incomes on housing costs. Employers have difficulty finding and keeping workers. It doesn’t appear that there is much relief in sight.

Read more here