I grew up in California, and I’m the last member of my family to live here. One of my sisters and her family moved to Oregon. For her family, it wasn’t an economic issue as much as a quality of life issue. In a recent ranking of states, California ranked the worst state for quality of life.
My parents recently bought a home in Las Vegas, and my eldest sister already lives out there. In the past two years, my family has moved out of California because of taxes, cost of living, quality of life, traffic, and a whole host of other issues.
California’s middle-class is leaving because California isn’t the “Golden State” it once was.
One major issue we are facing in California is a housing crisis, and it isn’t due to lack of developers wanting to build more housing. One main reason is overbearing government regulations.
The Building Industry Association recently commissioned a study that found that up to 40 percent of the cost of a new home is attributable to the 45 regulatory agencies that govern home building in California.
As a candidate for California State Controller, I will not have any legislative ability to address this issue, but I plan to introduce Trickle-up-Taxation to voters with a ballot initiative in 2020. Trickle-up-Taxation will indirectly help to solve our housing crisis because with Trickle-up-Taxation, regulatory reform and realigning of regulatory agencies will be necessary, and those reforms will not only help with the housing crisis but a myriad of other failed state governmental policies and structures.
Trickle-up-Taxation isn’t just about bringing much-needed tax dollars into your community to address the needs of your community. Trickle-up-Taxation will give greater flexibility to your local elected officials to streamline new development and cut down costs.
A perfect example of overbearing government regulation is the halting of a dilapidated California Theatre building in downtown San Diego. A theatre that has been closed since 1990 has fallen into disrepair and was scheduled for demolition for a new 40-story residential tower.
The new construction has been halted because the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires that a city’s environmental report includes several alternatives for the site including at least one preservation alternative.
Since the city’s report did include several alternatives, it did not consider at least one preservation alternative. Thus the court ruled that a new report had to be issued and at least one preservation alternative must be considered.
My question is, why should one preservation alternative even be considered? The building is from 1927, in disrepair, and its contaminated with lead and asbestos. Cleaning up asbestos and lead is very expensive, and no developer in their right mind would spend the millions necessary to remove that and preserve a building that will not bring in a reasonable rate of return or even a profit.
CEQA and the State of California should have no say in what happens to this building. We already have codes on how to properly clean up and dispose of asbestos and lead, and those codes are needed but spending thousands of dollars to consider preserving a building the owner and the city do not want, is utter nonsense.
Does regulatory reform that Trickle-up-Taxation ensure your city will do the right thing?
No, it doesn’t. San Francisco has proven that its local elected officials can delay development for over five years and require the owner to pay over a million dollars and doing study after study and still delaying the new housing development with nonsense that a building that was built in 1924 and was gutted when it was turned into a laundromat may have, but weren’t not sure, have some historical significance because neighborhood groups used the land once upon a time.
Government regulations are necessary for the protection of residents and the environment. I’m not arguing government doesn’t play a role, what I am arguing is that in the San Diego case, CEQA and the State of California have overstepped their bounds and are medlying in what should be a local issue, not a state issue. If San Francisco wants to make it difficult for their developers then so be it, they have that right.
My opinion is CEQA, and the State of California is delaying housing that is desperately needed and due to their government overreach, are adding millions of dollars of cost to new home build projects and thus will result in more expensive homes and years of delays.
Therefore, fewer people will be able to afford decent housing, and if they can’t find housing they will do what my family and many other Californians are doing; they are leaving the state for greener pasture elsewhere.