09/25/2018

News

Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, Improved Data and Oversight Would Strengthen Cost Assessment and Fraud Risk Management

GAO identified wide variation in development costs and several cost drivers for Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) projects completed in 2011–2015. Across 12 selected allocating agencies, median per-unit costs for new construction projects ranged from about $126,000 (Texas) to about $326,000 (California). Within individual allocating agencies, the variation in per-unit cost between the least and […]

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Housing Was Undersupplied during the Great Housing Bubble

ust a few cities are at the heart of the housing supply problem, most notably New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, and San Francisco, which I refer to as Closed Access cities. There are two very different housing markets within the United States: the Closed Access market, where new housing is highly constrained, rents rise […]

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Political expediency worsens long-term consequences

The Sacramento Unified School District offers us another example of how expediency can backfire. Late last year, the district’s teachers were threatening to strike for higher pay, and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg intervened, mediating a new contract that averted the strike and gave teachers an 11 percent raise. Later, it emerged that the money for […]

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“Subsidizing Fuel Efficient Cars: Evidence from China’s Automobile Industry “

The Chinese automobile market is the largest in the world with annual sales exceeding 20 million vehicles. The tremendous growth in sales – over 200 percent from 2008 to 2015 – and concerns over local air quality have prompted China’s policy makers to incentivize the adoption of more fuel efficient vehicles. We examine the response […]

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” Americans’ commutes keep getting longer, according to survey data”

Among major metropolitan areas, the nation’s capital trailed only New York, where the average one-way trip to work reached 37 minutes – a full two minutes longer than a decade prior. Washington’s commute times ticked up to 34.9 minutes from 34.8 in 2016, but they are a minute and a half longer than they were […]

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San Diego paying out nearly $1M to settle falling tree, cracked sidewalk injury suits

The payouts highlight the fact that sidewalks in many city neighborhoods are crumbling, partly because city officials neglected infrastructure for many years before reviving it as a high priority in 2014. Some council members lobbied last year for a 90-day deadline to fix reported sidewalk damage, and for a policy change eliminating the responsibility of […]

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Study provides new ammo for K-12 schools battle

The researchers conclude that “while public schools in California spent about $69.7 billion on school operations in 2016-17, an additional $22.1 billion—32 percent above actual spending—would have been necessary for all students to have had the opportunity to meet the goals set by the state Board of Education. On a per-pupil basis, the adequate district-level […]

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Taking money meant for financially pressed homeowners and using it to balance California’s budget is plain wrong

Here’s the story briefly: In 2012, Brown and the Legislature took $410 million that was supposed to assist victims of abusive mortgage lending and used it to help balance the state budget. Homeowner groups sued. Two courts ruled against the state and ordered it to replace $331 million. Just before the current Legislature adjourned Aug. […]

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Incomes Grew and the Official Poverty Rate Dropped in California in 2017, But Millions Still Struggle With Extremely Low Incomes

New Census figures released today show promising gains in income and employment for Californians, yet also show that millions of California residents are still struggling to get by on extremely low incomes. These data underscore the need for policymakers to ensure that the economy’s recent gains are shared among all Californians. The latest Census figures […]

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The Looming Apocalypse at LAUSD and Beyond

In two recent posts, I detailed the United Teachers of Los Angeles contract demands on the school district and reported that a strike was likely. And of late, the situation has gone from bad to dire. Perhaps the biggest issue revolves around the union’s demand for a 6 percent pay hike – retroactive to last […]

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Why running your washing machine in the evening could soon cost you more money

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District will launch a new rate system next month that charges residential users higher rates between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. — and lower rates at other times. SMUD, which provides electricity to more than a half-million residences in Sacramento County, has begun notifying some customers. The rate overhaul will phase […]

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California Climate Policies Facing Revolt from Civil-Rights Groups

Even before SB 100 passed, though, California’s leaders were already facing a legal backlash from minority leaders over the high cost of the state’s climate policies. On April 27, The Two Hundred, a coalition of civil-rights leaders, filed a lawsuit in state court against the California Air Resources Board, seeking an injunction against some of […]

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Gov. Jerry Brown’s carbon-free legacy—at what cost?

The technology to achieve 100 percent carbon-free electric power doesn’t yet exist because the main sources, solar panels and windmills, require the sun to shine and the wind to blow. Making them dependable would require enormous banks of batteries or some other form of reliable storage. The legislation slyly backtracks on previous policy by, in […]

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California wants to go carbon-negative. No one knows the cost

By the middle of this century, Gov. Jerry Brown wants California to pull more greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere every year than it puts in. That vision will almost certainly cost Californians. No one can say how much, however, because no one quite knows how we’ll achieve it. California has years of experience ramping […]

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Employers Choose Bonuses Over Raises

U.S. employers are boosting benefits—including bonuses and vacation time—at a faster pace than salaries, a move that gives them more flexibility to dial back that compensation if the economy turns sour. The cost of benefits for private-sector employers rose 3% in June from a year earlier, while the cost of wages and salaries advanced 2.7%, […]

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