The California Legislature is moving for the first time in history to tax every residence and business about a dollar month for drinking water to generate $2 billion over the next 15 years to supposedly clean up contaminated ground water.
Although Senate Bill 623 is titled: “Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund,” a coalition of agricultural and environmental lobbyists convinced its author Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel) to amend the ground water cleanup bill that has been moving through the Legislature since February, to quietly add a water tax of 95 cents per month on every residence and business. The bill would also tack on $30 million in farm and dairy fees.
More than 100 local governments have inclusionary ordinances. But a 2009 state appeals court ruling exempted rental units.
So as part of an overall package of housing bills, Democratic lawmakers want to overturn that exemption. Two identical bills are under consideration in the Legislature, AB 1505 and SB 277.
The President has vowed to get economic growth back above 3% after the dreary slow recovery of the Obama “new normal.” What’s as sweet as the faster growth last quarter is the way it was achieved—with less spending by state and local governments but more consumer spending and rising business investment.
This last part is especially important. Lackluster business investment was a hallmark of the Obama era. And who could blame executives for being reluctant to pull the trigger on new plants and equipment? It was impossible to know what new intervention in the private economy regulators were dreaming up in Washington. When businesses don’t invest in new tools, workers have a hard time becoming more productive, which in turn means workers can’t demand higher pay.
The minimum wage in St. Louis falls by $2.30 an hour Monday, making it a rare city to buck the national trend of municipal pay floors rising above federal and state levels.
Many low-wage workers in the Gateway City will lose raises they received in May, when the minimum wage increased to $10 an hour. A state law taking effect Monday mandates that Missouri municipalities follow the state minimum of $7.70 an hour, nullifying the higher wage St. Louis officials had sought since 2015.
Too many people go to too many locales to work, and, as housing prices have surged, many have moved farther way, which makes trains less practical, given the lack of a dominant job center. But in its desire to emulate places like New York, Los Angeles has spent some $15 billion trying to evolve into what some East Coast enthusiasts call the “next great transit city.”
The rail lines have earned Mayor Eric Garcetti almost endless plaudits from places like the New York Times. Yet, since 1990, transit’s work trip market share has dropped from 5.6 percent to 5.1 percent. MTA system ridership stands at least 15 percent below 1985 levels, when there was only bus service, and the population of Los Angeles County was about 20 percent lower. In some places, like Orange County, the fall has been even more precipitous, down 30 percent since 2008. It is no surprise, then, that, according to a recent USC study, the new lines have done little or nothing to lessen congestion.