Sacramento Pushes Rent Control in Response to CA Housing Problem

house-constructionDebate over California’s housing situation ratcheted up amid conflicting data and a flurry of new legislation designed to mitigate high prices and low supply.

Analysts have separated into two camps around Golden State real estate, one more bullish than the other. “Two recent reports — from Fitch Rating, a Wall Street credit reviewer, and Arch MI, a seller of mortgage insurance — attempt to gauge the stability of regional housing markets by tracking changes in real estate metrics vs. other economic measurements,” the Orange County Register reported. “Using a California prism, the studies draw wildly different conclusions. Fitch concludes California housing is among the most overvalued housing markets in the nation. Yet California is not on Arch MI’s list of riskiest places to own.”

“California was one of 10 states with overvalued housing by Fitch’s standards. Four states had the same pricing mismatch as California: Florida, Hawaii, Oregon and Utah. Next states on the dicier scale — 10 percent to 14 percent overvalued — were Arizona, North Dakota, Nevada and Texas […]. Idaho was in the worst shape at 15 percent to 19 percent overvalued. But Arch MI saw California with riskiness below the norm. California’s risk of falling home prices is ‘minimal’ or a 2 percent change of depreciation in the next two years. National risk by this math is 4 percent.”

Searching for answers

Along with an analytical split surrounding a possible housing bubble, residential options in California have been opening a gulf of their own. “California is one of the most unequal states in the country, and its housing market is similarly bifurcated, offering both multimillion dollar houses and rent-controlled apartments, but less and less of a foothold for people in the middle,” the American Interest observed. “This is a key reason so many working class families have left the Golden State in the past 25 years.” In a recent report issued by Bankrate.com analyst Claes Bell, “California ranked as the toughest state in the nation for first-time home buyers, who typically would be in the millennial age bracket of 18 to 34,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Policymakers grappling with the state’s compounded housing challenges have no shortage of plans to pore over — over 130 bills touching upon the issue, the Times noted. “Reams of statistics support the depth of the problem: California’s homeownership rate is at its lowest since World War II, a third of renters spend more than half of their income on housing costs and the state has nearly a quarter of the nation’s homeless residents — despite having 12% of the overall U.S. population,” the paper noted in a breakdown of some leading legislative contenders — which range from proposals to expand low-income rent-controlled units to increasing tax credits to pushing easier and less traditional permitting.

Back to rent control?

The push toward increased rent control has been spearheaded by Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica. “Bloom wants to repeal the state law known as the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, named after a moderate-leaning Democratic former state senator from the Central Valley and a short-time Republican assemblyman from Orange County,” the Sacramento Bee recalled. “During 1995, Jim Costa, now in Congress, and Phil Hawkins, who served just two years in the state Assembly, became the face of a disputed political campaign lodged largely by landlords and real estate interests to weaken – statewide – the ability of cities to pass strong rent-control laws. It came nearly two decades after the rent-control movement, born in cities like Santa Monica, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Berkeley, was spreading across the state.”

In core metro areas across California, rents have risen dramatically — in part reflecting an influx of wealthier residents to downtown urban neighborhoods, but also fueling a domino effect of hikes further down the affordability chain. “Statewide, average rents have increased 60 percent over the past 20 years. In 2016, median rents in the Bay Area and Los Angeles area ranged from $2,427 to $4,508, according to a housing report from the California Department of Housing and Community Development,” the paper added. “Nearly half of California’s households rent, and 84 percent of them are considered ‘burdened,’ spending 30 percent to 50 percent or more of annual income on rent.”

Progressive Policy Agenda Could Benefit with Advanced Primary Election

vote-ballot-electionWhile the focus on Sen. Ricardo Lara’s bill to move California’s presidential primary from June to an earlier date so as to increase the state’s influence in presidential contests, there is an overlooked aspect to the change that could also advance the progressive state issues cherished by the majority in the California legislature.

While moving up the presidential primary, SB 586 would also advance a consolidated statewide primary to the third Tuesday in March or to an earlier date on the calendar if the governor determines such a move would keep California’s presidential contest one of the earliest presidential primaries.

Besides the legislative and constitutional officers races involved in the statewide primary, legislative propositions and, importantly, constitutional amendments could appear on the primary ballot.

Recall a few years ago, the rules were changed to place all initiatives on the general election ballots in November. However, legislative acts referred to the voters could still appear on the primary ballot. That would still be the case if the primary is moved up.

In announcing the move to create an earlier presidential primary, Secretary of State Alex Padilla, predicted to Carla Marinucci of Politico that an early presidential primary is “going to be great for turnout.” In California, increased voter turnout tends to favor Democrats.

In a release issued about his bill, Sen. Lara noted, “California is leading the nation on clean air, criminal justice reform, and expanding healthcare for all, and moving up our presidential primary will ensure our state’s voters are heard in the national debate.”

It would also give the Democrats and their supermajority the opportunity to place measures on the ballot that push their agenda to a friendlier electorate. That includes constitutional amendments, which require a two-thirds vote. Democrats now control two-thirds of both houses of the legislature.

Changes to governance rules, altering past initiatives of which legislators don’t approve, or even amended tax laws all could end up on the primary ballot with a two-thirds vote. With a heavier turnout of a more sympathetic electorate expected, the chance of passing some of those measures becomes more plausible.

Joel Fox is the Editor of Fox and Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee.

This piece was originally published on Fox and Hounds.

Are You Kidding Me? Another Increase in Gas and Vehicle Fees?

Infrastructure constructionIf you check past California records, you will find that our voters have passed a number of measures to repair the roads, strengthen and repair bridges around the state and complete a variety of other transportation related projects in our so-called Golden State. While Governor Brown has dedicated billions of dollars to build the Bullet Train from nowhere to nowhere, we all manage our finances and tighten our belts to make ends meet.

Unlike us, the State of California and many elected officials have an easy answer to financial needs: raise taxes and fees as high as you can. The people paying the taxes and fees will most likely go along with these increases without much opposition. The California State Senate and Assembly have approved the latest move by California and Governor Brown. Few of the elected state officials have voiced any opposition or voted NO. Unfortunately, not enough have had the courage to Just Say No to the massive increase.

The details are pretty clear and will impact everyone driving gas or diesel vehicles in California. It is anticipated that the increase in fuel tax and car registration fees will haul in $5.2 billion annually. Along with the gas tax increase, the car registration fee will increase and ranging from $25 to $175 depending on the value of the vehicle. The more expensive the car, the higher the new added fee.

Electric car owners will now pay a flat fee of $100 a year. This is because they are not paying any gas tax fee. The money is going to be directed to repair the many roads, highways and bridges in California. The gridlock situation in our state is expected to receive $7 billion over the first decade.

For your information, the current gas taxes in Los Angeles are: Federal–$.184, State–$.278 and local–9.00 percent. Add to this the recently approved additional gas and diesel tax and the additional registration fees we will all be paying very soon. We did not to have an opportunity to vote on this matter. Our State elected officials did it all from both the Assembly and Senate. We will see how soon the money hits the roads in California and in your neighborhood.

Along with increases in the fees, there will be an increase in the cost of products. Delivery of products will increase and each and every sector of our economy dealing with transportation and related fields will see an increase in cost to consumers. I bet you did not even think about this impact resulting from the gas/diesel and vehicle registration fee increases. That’s more taxes and more fees and more of your hard earned dollar flying out of your wallet. The $15 an hour minimum wage increase taking effect in the next few years will slowly evaporate given the increase costs for nearly every product we consume. Something to think about when you realize what our elected officials are doing to us.

While I am on the subject of taxes and fees, I must mention the growing homeless population in Los Angeles. Remember that voters in the City of Los Angeles passed a $1.2 billion tax increase to address homelessness and the County of Los Angeles passed a ¼ percent sales tax increase for the entire county to provide services to the homeless.

Here’s an update: Look around your neighborhood and see if the homeless situation is improving at all. In my neighborhood, there are more and more homeless people living on the streets and more hypo needles in the gutters. I must note that the County of Los Angeles has brought 50 people together to try and figure out what to do with the ¼ percent sales tax increase dollars. Whenever you get 50 people together to decide how to spend millions upon millions of dollars for anything you can’t expect much to be done in a reasonable amount of time. And so it goes. Not much has changed in the City of the Angels.

Happy Easter and Happy Passover to our readers. I wish for a time when we can all celebrate the many blessings we enjoy in America.

(Dennis P. Zine is a 33-year member of the Los Angeles Police Department and former Vice-Chairman of the Elected Los Angeles City Charter Reform Commission, a 12-year member of the Los Angeles City Council and a current LAPD Reserve Officer who serves as a member of the Fugitive Warrant Detail assigned out of Gang and Narcotics Division. Zine was a candidate for City Controller last city election. He writes RantZ & RaveZ for CityWatch. You can contact him at Zman8910@aol.com. Mr. Zine’s views are his own and do not reflect the views of CityWatch.)

Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams. This piece was originally published on CityWatch.

Can Trump Stop California from Becoming a ‘Sanctuary State’?

Donald TrumpPresident Donald Trump needs a major victory, and after the first, failed effort to repeal Obamacare, many pundits are wondering if he can stop California from becoming a “sanctuary state.”

“Showing a giant middle finger to President Trump, California is on its way to becoming the first sanctuary state in the nation,” notes Washington Post columnist Amber Phillips, who has suggested a five-point plan for how Trump might go about picking a fight with California — and what might happen.

Phillips argues that Trump has to stop the first sanctuary state from becoming the symbol of successful resistance:

“Sanctuary cities are one of the most high-profile acts of defiance to a Trump presidency, and the president has expressed a zero-tolerance policy toward them. In his first week in office, Trump signed an executive order declaring that sanctuaries are in violation of federal law and “have caused immeasurable harm to the American people.”

In the past few months, California has become the epicenter of resistance to Trump’s policies.  Here are just a few of the headlines out of California since Trump’s Election:

  1. California State Senate Leader: ‘Half My Family’ Here Illegally
  2. Democrats Threaten to Make California a ‘Sanctuary State’
  3. #CalExit: State Approves ‘California Nation’ to Collect Signatures
  4. California Goes One Step Beyond ObamaCare, Proposes Single-Payer Healthcare System to Include Illegal Aliens
  5. San Francisco Seeks to Freeze Trump’s ‘Sanctuary City’ Cuts
  6. California Democrats Propose In-State Tuition for Refugees
  7. California Democrats Threaten to Stop Paying Federal Taxes
  8. CA State Senator Amends Bill to Make ‘Discrimination Against’ Border Wall Contractors Legal

California Democrats have made it clear they intend to fight Trump every step of the way with legislation and legal action at the very least — and in the streets if necessary.

So far, dozens of California cities have declared themselves sanctuaries in response to Trump’s threat to defund all sanctuary cities.

Here is how the Post columnist sees it playing out:

Step 1a: The Trump administration tries to shame California

This has been in the works for a while, but California seems to have the upper hand—as courts have handed Trump defeat after defeat on his travel ban, which may be a shadow of decisions to come when first he cuts off funds to the first sanctuary city, or to the state as a whole, pending the passage of SB 54 in the state legislature.

Step 1b: The Trump administration cuts off grant money to California

Already in the works as well.  California may soon lose law enforcement funding as well as federal funds for free health care and food stamps for the poor because of the state’s refusal to hand over fingerprints of illegal aliens.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made it clear that he means to cut off billions in funding if local authorities persist in refusing to turn over illegal aliens when requested to do so.

Step 2: California challenges the withholding of money in court

There are already multiple cases before California courts, the most notable of which was brought by the oldest and certainly the most notorious sanctuary city, San Francisco.

Step 3: The Trump administration sues California

It’s possible that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) could sue California, but it would likely wind up in the same federal courts that rejected Trump’s travel ban.

Step 4: Trump does it himself

Trump could order the arrest any elected official or member of law enforcement who refuses to cooperate with federal agents on obstruction of justice charges. That might change the minds of some of those chanting “sanctuary for all.”

The final step, perhaps: Congress becomes involved

Most of Trump’s problems would be solved if Congress passed a law that allowed the federal government to cut off broader funding for sanctuary cities and states, beyond what is in the DOJ’s discretion.

They did it in 2015, and it wouldn’t be hard to do it again. It might even be a good way to bring together the rancorous House after the disastrous ObamaCare 2.0 debacle.

One thing is sure.  If President Trump is looking for a fight on sanctuary policy, the one sure place to find one is to look west to California.

Tim Donnelly is a former California State Assemblyman and author who is doing a book tour for his new book: Patriot Not Politician: Win or Go Homeless. He ran for governor in 2014.

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/tim.donnelly.12/

Twitter:  @PatriotNotPol

This piece was originally published on Breitbart.com/California

Gas Tax Fight Shows Importance and Impact of Transparency Law

billionaire taxes californiaIt’s no secret that the state’s legislative leadership is less than thrilled about an open-government initiative that California voters passed in the November election, and are doing what they can to undermine its clear intent.

Yet, it’s a testament to the measure’s importance that the Legislature painstakingly followed its dictates as they passed last week a controversial bill to increase gas taxes and vehicle-license fees to fund $52.4 billion in transportation upgrades over the next decade.

Had they not followed the timelines detailed in the measure, the transportation bill would be subject to legal challenge. That reality showcases the “teeth” in Proposition 54, which passed statewide with 65 percent of the vote – and even had the rare virtue of receiving voter approval in every one of California’s 58 counties.

The proposition is simple, though arcane sounding. It mainly requires that all bills be printed in final form – and published online –72 hours prior to a final vote in either house of the Legislature. Good-government reformers had for years tried to get the Legislature to approve such a measure, but were consistently stymied.

That’s because legislators love to rush through those “gut and amend” measures at the last moments of a legislative session. That’s when the guts of a bill are stripped away and an entirely new piece of legislation is dropped into its shell. In these rush situations, most legislators are unaware of the details of what they are voting on and the public and media can’t see what’s in the bills. This situation breeds cynicism and contempt for the legislative process.

By contrast, the vote over Senate Bill 1, the transportation measure, was a model of openness, according to many observers. As observers have noted, there’s plenty of reason for criticism of the bill and other parts of the process – the size of the tax increases, the pork-barrel projects, the lack of reforms for current transportation programs – but there’s no doubt the voter-approved proposition made it easier to see what was in it, warts and all.

Prior to SB 1’s passage, an ideologically diverse group of Prop. 54 supporters, including the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and California Common Cause, sent a letter to legislative leaders expressing their “concerns with the Legislature’s implementation to date, which could inadvertently result in the invalidation of bills that the Legislature wishes to pass.”

The bill seemed like a warning: The Legislature better follow the details of Prop. 54 in its consideration of SB 1 or potentially face legal efforts to overturn the measure if it passes. Indeed, the Legislature reportedly followed the 72-hour rule with nine minutes to spare.

But the warning was timely. As the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Diaz explained in an April 7 editorial, “Of particular concern was the Assembly’s attempt to interpret the 72-hour rule more narrowly than was presented to voters.” Assembly leaders interpreted the measure – which its authors say applies to all bills – “only to bills that had previously passed the Senate and were on their last stop before the governor.” That interpretation could eventually be challenged in court.

As the letter writers explained, “Each member of the Legislature is constitutionally guaranteed the right to have at least 72 hours to review the final version of any bill prior to a floor vote, regardless of the bill’s house of origin, and your constituents have the same right. We believe the Legislature’s rules should unambiguously reflect that right.”

The proposition also allows the public to record public meetings and requires the Legislature, beginning in 2018, to post videos of all such meetings online within 24 hours. The letter argues that the Legislature, however, is improperly adopting rules regarding such recordings.

“If the Legislature wishes to regulate the placement and use of recording or broadcasting equipment, it must adopt those rules in compliance with the Constitution’s requirements: that is, by a two-thirds vote concurring in each house, or by statute,” the signers explained.

As Diaz argued, the Legislature had for years “rejected any and all such reforms.” Supporters of the status quo had maintained imposing these “sunshine” rules would restrict the ability of legislators to get things done. But with the passage of SB 1, the Legislature passed one of its major and controversial priorities, despite having to operate with a new level of openness.

Legislators still are resisting the new rules, but they face grave risks if they push their recalcitrance too far. “If the Legislature does not adopt rules consistent with Proposition 54, there is a risk that the Legislature may schedule votes in violation of the Constitution’s 72-hour notice requirements,” according to the coalition letter. “Any such vote for passage will be invalid, and that bill will be ineligible to become a law.”

Ultimately, the Legislature understood what was at risk, which is why they apparently didn’t take any chances with their transportation bill.

Steven Greenhut is Western region director for the R Street Institute. Write to him atsgreenhut@rstreet.org.

This piece was originally published on CalWatchdog.com

Jerry Brown Channels Gray Davis in Gas Tax Hike

220px-Gray_DavisWriting in 2007, Los Angeles Times editorial writer Robert Greene stated, “The defining issue of the 2003 recall was Gov. Gray Davis’ tripling of the car tax, more officially known as the vehicle license fee. The defining issue of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s successful campaign to unseat Davis was his promised rollback of the said car tax.” Greene went on to document the relationship of the car tax, the gas tax and the diversion of this revenue from transportation infrastructure to shore up a chronically unbalanced state budget. The contortions and machinations by state officials behind this diversion of funds was difficult to follow. What was not difficult to follow, however, was the public’s disdain for the car tax, a fact to which former Gov. Davis will attest.

The transportation tax package just approved by the California Legislature — greased with ample amounts of pork — is a lot more than just an increase in the car registration tax. It also imposes a 12-cents-per-gallon gas tax, and will cost the average California family of four over $250 annually. If state politicians wanted to inflame California taxpayers, they couldn’t have picked a better way to do it. What’s next? Standing in Capitol Park to poke hornets’ nests?

As discussed in this column last week, the current proposal, calculated to cost California drivers $52 billion over the next 10 years, is bad for innumerable policy reasons. But it’s also bad politics.

To read the entire column, please click here.

Trump border walls to be built in Otay Mesa

From The San Diego Union-Tribune:

President Donald Trump’s proposed wall with Mexico will kick off in the San Diego border community of Otay Mesa, U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed Monday.

The community is home to one of two border crossings in San Diego and will be the site where 20 chosen bidders will erect prototypes of the envisioned wall. Winners will be selected around June 1, the agency said.

(Read Full Article)wall-tanks

Misguided Policies Lead To More Companies Leaving CA

Photo courtesy of kenteegardin, flickr

Photo courtesy of kenteegardin, flickr

This spring marks the first anniversary of the announcement that Carl’s Jr., a California burger icon for more than six decades, was relocating its headquarters to Nashville. It’s yet another business that has quit California in what was once an almost quiet exodus of companies but now looks more like a stampede.

The list of businesses abandoning California for more hospitable business environments reads like a roll call of top companies. Toyota is in the process of leaving Torrance and will complete the move of its U.S. headquarters to Dallas by the end of 2017. Also having left for Dallas is Jacobs Engineering Group, $6.3 billion firm formerly based in Pasadena that has more than 230 offices across the world, employs 60,000 and generates $12 billion in annual revenue.

Other companies that have left, or are pricing moving van rates, are Nestle (leaving Glendale to reboot its U.S. headquarters in Rosslyn, Va.), Nissan North America (left for Nashville a decade before Carl’s Jr. did), Jamba Juice (traded San Francisco for Frisco, Texas), Occidental Petroleum (prefers Houston over Westwood for its headquarters), Numira Biosciences (Irvine, no – Salt Lake City, yes) and Omnitracs, a software firm (goodbye San Diego, hello Dallas).

From 2007 through 2015, as many as 9,000 companies have left California, according to Joe Vranich, president of Spectrum Location Solutions in Irvine. And no one should wonder why. Just by simply putting California behind them, these companies are saving 20 percent to 35 percent a year in operating costs, Vranich says.

Leaving California is not cost-free, though. Vranich recently wrote on his blog about the storm of criticism one business received on social media after its relocation to another state was announced. One Facebook comment said, “Good riddance.” Another said, “If you can’t pay your employees a living wage, you don’t have my sympathy.”

These comments are a sign that the toxic hostility toward business in this state has spilled over from policymakers and into the general population. Consequently, Vranich encourages clients “to keep a low profile” when they move so they won’t be “hammered without mercy from an uninformed public and sometimes from public officials who know little about what it takes to run a business.”

It would be helpful if the rancor were put in neutral long enough to allow some facts about business in California to become a part of the public debate. Last year, for instance, Chief Executive magazine ranked California the worst state in which to do business. It was the 11th straight year the state was embarrassed by the magazine’s basement grade.

The problem will only worsen with job-killing mandates such as the recently enacted minimum wage increases. The business owner who took flak on social media for moving his company to Nevada wrote in the Los Angeles Times that the rising cost of doing business was the biggest driver of his decision. California raised its minimum wage to $10.50 an hour on Jan. 1 for businesses with at least 26 employees. It will continue upward every year until arriving at $15 an hour in 2022 for the bigger companies, the highest in the country.

“I’m in no way an opponent of higher pay,” wrote Houman Salem, who is moving his apparel company to Nevada. “When you have a company with fewer than 50 employees, you get to know them pretty well and have a genuine concern for them as individuals. But that has to be balanced with concern for keeping your clients, who can always take their business to other countries or states.”

The Daily Caller reported last April, just after the minimum wage law was passed and signed, that “California businesses are already starting to move out of state.”

Carl’s Jr. didn’t move its corporate operations to Nashville because of California’s climbing minimum wage. But increasing employment costs were a factor in the decision to stop opening new restaurants in California and a reason why franchisees are opening “very few” here, outgoing company CEO Andy Puzder says.

So that means fewer job opportunities for entry-level workers, who, like companies, will also have to flee the state’s ugly business climate, joining the 250,000 workers at all levels who, according to federal data, left in 2013 and 2014 alone.

California’s economic outlook could match its famous sunny weather if policymakers would cut punitive tax rates, reform the archaic income tax system, lift the regulatory burden from businesses, solve the housing crisis and rethink the minimum-wage hikes. While the politics are complex, the solutions aren’t.

Kerry Jackson is a fellow with the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.

This piece was originally posted on Fox and Hounds Daily.

Brown’s 12-Cent Gas Tax Passes Legislature on Deadline

TaxesBoth houses of the California legislature passed a 12-cent gasoline tax hike on Thursday, meeting Governor Jerry Brown’s deadline to provide an estimated $52 billion in new revenues, ostensibly for transportation infrastructure.

The bill, which also raises Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) fees, barely reached the two-thirds majority needed to raise taxes in both the State Assembly and the State Senate. Passage marks a huge political victory for Gov. Brown, who is in his fourth and final term as governor. The political consequences for legislators, however, have yet to be seen, as voters have not yet felt the pinch of a tax hike that, critics say, will hit rural and working-class Californians hardest.

The vote in the State Assembly was incredibly close, with the measure receiving no more than the 54 votes needed. The Los Angeles Times reported: “The bill posed a test of the Democratic supermajority, with members in swing districts wary of casting a politically unpopular vote to raise taxes. Legislative leaders and the governor amped up the arm-twisting in the hours before the vote, negotiating side deals to entice members with projects in their districts.”

In the State Senate, the vote was only slightly more favorable to the governor. He lost the support of State Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda), a moderate Democrat who was the only member of his party to vote against the bill. In a statement reported by the East Bay Times, Glazer wondered why new taxes were necessary rather than diverting funds from the California High-Speed Rail boondoggle. But Gov. Brown gained an ally in the one Republican to vote for the new tax hike, State Sen. Anthony Canella (R-Ceres), who supported the measure in exchange for a project in his district, according to yourcentralvalley.com.

The bill now awaits Brown’s signature. The gas tax hike will be the largest in the state’s history, and the first in decades, in a state that already has some of the highest gas taxes in America.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

This piece was originally published on Breitbart.com/California

CA’s Climate Obsession Keeps Energy and Housing Prices High

california-flagTo some progressives, California’s huge endorsement for the losing side for president reflects our state’s moral superiority. Some even embrace the notion that California should secede so that we don’t have to associate with the “deplorables” who tilted less enlightened places to President-elect Donald Trump. One can imagine our political leaders even inviting President Barack Obama, who reportedly now plans to move to our state, to serve as the California Republic’s first chief executive.

As a standalone country, California could accelerate its ongoing emergence as what could be called “the Republic of Climate.” This would be true in two ways. Dominated by climate concerns, California’s political leaders will produce policies that discourage blue-collar growth and keep energy and housing prices high. This is ideal for the state’s wealthier, mostly white, coastal ruling classes. Yet, at the same time, the California gentry can enjoy what, for the most part, remains a temperate climate. Due to our open borders policies, they can also enjoy an inexhaustible supply of cheap service workers.

Of course, most Californians, particularly in the interior, will not do so well. They will continue to experience a climate of declining social mobility due to rising costs, and businesses, particularly those employing blue-collar and middle-income workers, will continue to flee to more hospitable, if less idyllic, climes.

California in the Trump era

Barring a rush to independence, Californians now must adapt to a new regime in Washington that does not owe anything to the state, much less its policy agenda. Under the new regime, our high tax rates and ever-intensifying regulatory regime will become even more distinct from national norms.

President Obama saw California’s regulatory program, particularly its obsession with climate change, as a role model leading the rest of the nation — and even the world. Trump’s victory turns this amicable situation on its head. California now must compete with other states, which can only salivate at the growing gap in costs.

At the same time, foreign competitors, such as the Chinese, courted by Gov. Jerry Brown and others to follow its climate agenda, will be more than happy to take energy-dependent business off our hands. They will make gestures to impress what Vladimir Lenin labeled “useful idiots” in our ruling circles, but will continue to add coal-fired plants to power their job-sapping export industries.

Read the entire piece at The Orange County Register.

Cross-posted at New Geography.

Joel Kotkin is the R.C. Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University in Orange and executive director of the Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism (www.opportunityurbanism.org).