Topic: Regulation
News
Oct. 31, 2017

We know this destructive gas tax will disproportionately hurt working families and struggling small businesses, but unfortunately the list of new burdens does not stop there. Governor Brown signed a slew of additional bills which will make California even more hostile to small business.

News
Oct. 27, 2017

In 2016, California shipped recyclables with a value of $21 million by air to Japan, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Trash worth $108 million went by rail or truck to Mexico. But $4.6 billion worth of recyclables, 15 million tons, were shipped out from California’s ports. By far the greatest share of our recyclables, 62 percent, went to China.

Seaborne exports of all commodities from California ports in 2016 totaled 63 million tons, with a vessel value of more than $89 billion. Recyclable material accounted for 24 percent of the commodities exports by weight, 5 percent by value.

News
Oct. 20, 2017

Issi Romem, buildzoom.com's chief economist has made a valuable contribution to the growing literature on the severe unaffordability of housing in a number of US metropolitan areas. The disparities between the severely unaffordable metropolitan areas (read San Jose, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Miami, New York, Boston, Sacramento and Riverside-San Bernardino) and the many more affordable areas in America are described in

"Paying For Dirt: Where Have Home Values Detached From Construction Costs". Romem points out that: "In the expensive U.S. coastal metros, home prices have detached from construction costs and can be almost four times as high as the cost of rebuilding existing structures." "Paying for dirt" refers to the ballooning land costs that now comprise an unprecedented part of house values, such as in the severely unaffordable metropolitan markets above. This has created an environment where affordability is impossible. In many of these metropolitan areas, a modest house commands an exorbitant price well beyond the financial capacity of most middle income households. Land has become so expensive that it doesn't matter what is built on it, whether the average house or a tent, the price will be too high. The market distortions are so great that Romem is able to show that, for example, the average house value in Columbus, Ohio, a delightful metropolitan area, is less than the average land value per lot in Portland (Oregon).

News
Oct. 20, 2017

When California’s Gov. Jerry Brown signed a 10-year extension of the state’s cap-and-trade program this summer, it was heralded as a rebuke of President Trump, who had just announced he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord. While the nation was failing on climate change, the story went, states could succeed. The trouble is that California could leak—like a sieve.

In the decade since Mr. Brown’s predecessor, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, first signed the Global Warming Solutions Act, the cap-and-trade program has done little to abate carbon emissions, let alone planetary warming. Under the law, companies in California that emit carbon in their production processes must secure scarce permits for the right to do so. The theory is that this creates an incentive to invest in green power and energy efficiency.

Yet the law’s designers still have not confronted the central conundrum of trying to impose a state or regional climate policy: As firms compete for a limited supply of carbon permits, they are put at a disadvantage to out-of-state rivals. Production flees the state, taking jobs and tax revenues with it. Emissions “leak” outside California’s cap to other jurisdictions.

News
Oct. 19, 2017

The United States slipped one spot to eighth in the most recent iteration of the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings. The Index ranks countries based on how supportive their economies and regulatory frameworks are to starting and operating a local firm. For the United States, the report uses a population-weighted score for Los Angeles and New York City. A decade ago the United States ranked third, behind only perennial top-two finishers Singapore and New Zealand, but in this year’s Index it also ranked behind Denmark, Hong Kong, South Korea, Norway, and the United Kingdom

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