A report released today from the National University System Institute for Policy Research (NUSIPR) found that California’s lack of strategic coordination on energy policies is increasing energy costs in San Diego, hurting key industries, and burdening residents who are struggling to balance household budgets. The report entitled San Diego: Energy, the Economy and the Call for Pause encouraged policymakers to understand how energy policies impact costs, and consider whether the new mandates are fostering a more sustainable, cost-effective energy system.
Living in decent, affordable, and reasonably located housing is vitally important to every Californian. Unfortunately, housing in California is extremely expensive and, as a result, many households are forced to make serious trade-offs in order to live here. While many factors have a role in driving California’s high housing costs, the most important is the significant shortage of housing in the state’s highly coveted coastal communities. We advise the Legislature to address this housing shortfall by changing policies to facilitate significantly more private home and apartment building in California’s coastal urban communities.
The state that had earlier earned its own “California Dream” label now limits the dream of homeownership principally to people either fortunate enough to have purchased their homes years ago and to the more affluent. Many middle income residents may have to face the choice of renting permanently or moving away.
Snowpack at 12 percent of average in the Sierra Nevada means there is less runoff to feed rivers and streams that run through dams to generate cleanly produced hydroelectric power. Despite the state’s ambitious clean-air goals, officials are turning to dirtier, more costly fossil-fuel plants to fill some of the power gap. They also will seek more hydroelectricity imports in a region expected to have markedly less to offer this summer.
The San Francisco metro area – where the $952,162 median home price is more than twice the state median – seems to have all the symptoms that the state’s legislative analyst office says causes a housing sickness across California’s coastal cities. High housing costs in those cities are caused by insufficient supply, which are in turn caused by community resistance, environmental objections and scarce land.
California’s cap-and-trade program will reap far more revenue for clean air projects than the state had previously projected. But most of those dollars will flow disproportionately to the Bay Area and San Joaquin Valley, according to a report released Tuesday. It’s already stirred controversy.
“California’s unfortunate evolution into a society of haves and have-nots has many root causes, but a highly distorted housing market looms very large. We have the nation’s second highest home prices (only Hawaii is higher) and, not surprisingly, its third lowest level of homeownership.”
California’s high housing costs are crimping economic productivity, increasing poverty rates, lowering homeownership, increasing crowding and lengthening commute times, a new state report says.
Paradoxically, perhaps the city’s biggest strength is its sprawl. Unlike most other big cities in America, Houston has no zoning code, so it is quick to respond to demand for housing and office space. Last year authorities in the Houston metropolitan area, with a population of 6.2m, issued permits to build 64,000 homes. The entire state of California, with a population of 39m, issued just 83,000. Houston’s reliance on the car and air-conditioning is environmentally destructive and unattractive to well-off singletons. But for families on moderate incomes, it is a place to live well cheaply.
It’s no surprise, then, that Latinos, who will shape much of America’s future, are overall doing better in Texas than in California. In Texas, they are more likely to be married and own a business or a home than their California counterparts – and far less likely be on some form of public assistance. One explanation has been the relative decline of the California economy, particularly in fields such as construction, manufacturing, energy and logistics, that have been traditional sources of upward mobility for working class, noncollege educated people.
The strike has been one contributor to rising gasoline prices, which had previously fallen to levels not seen in years. Although other factors may have had more impact on the rising prices — including an explosion at a Torrance refinery — some analysts believe that the resolution of the labor strike will send prices down.
The principal author of that legislation, Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, has introduced a new bill, SB 32, requiring greenhouse gases to be cut to 80 percent below the 1990 levels by 2050. The plan would come under the jurisdiction of the Air Resources Board.
The way Levine sees it, California is becoming a “barbell economy” with relatively heavy job growth in high- and low-wage occupations while the middle gets squeezed. . . Levine contends California has become too expensive for employers to hire middle-wage workers. A lot of the blame for those high costs, he said, can be placed on the state environmental laws and other regulations that make California a more expensive state for doing business.
That’s made gasoline much more expensive here than anywhere else in the nation — an average of $3.44 for a gallon of regular as of 7 a.m. Wednesday, according to price-tracker GasBuddy.com. Hawaii is the only other state with an average price above $3 a gallon.
Analysts said the current surge is being driven by a stew of factors, all of them coming on the heels of unusually low gas prices seen in the last quarter of 2014 and in January this year. Prices are being pushed upward by soaring wholesale gasoline costs, which in turn prompt higher retail costs at service stations; in-state refineries switching over to pricier spring/summer gas blends; and the United Steelworkers union strike idling workers at Tesoro’s California facilities in Carson and Martinez.