02/25/2018

News

California’s Minimum Wage Hike Debate…Or Debacle?

The complete lack of public debate over this policy decision harkens back to the smoke-filled rooms of old-time power politics, where the public had little say over what actually happened in the halls of power. And in the rush to shove this measure forward without any deliberation, the state is now forced to bear a policy that will, in all likelihood, do more harm than good to the very people the state is trying to, in theory, help. . . The real shame is that California continues to play with a policy tool that has a proven track record of not working when there are plenty of policy options that do. Pre-kindergarten education is a pricey but proven winner. The Earned Income Tax Credit is another potential option with a proven track record. But these programs cost money and that means either asking for tax hikes or taking money from other uses—options no one in Sacramento seems to be able to stomach.

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An Analysis of Rent Control Ordinances in California

Rent control can have a negative impact on low-income households not living in rent-controlled units through higher growth in citywide median rents. Rents are too high because multi-family housing and the state’s housing stock have failed to expand
commensurately with the ever-growing population. The solution to this affordability problem is to expand the apartment stock in these cities, not introduce price ceilings.

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Cut Me Some Slack: The Real Concern in Today’s Economy

The harder part, especially for states like California that rely so heavily on high-skilled workers, is to keep the momentum going when there is no slack in the system to draw from. Not only will education be a critical area of focus, but the state’s employers will also have to recruit skilled workers from other parts of the nation and world. And, as Beacon Economics has pointed out for some time, that will require addressing the chronic under-supply of housing and keeping home price growth in check.

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California Trade Report

The state’s exports of goods to foreign markets in August totaled $13.24 billion, down 9% from the $14.55 billion recorded in August 2014. By way of comparison, overall U.S. merchandise exports fell by 10.4% over the same period, while exports from Texas shrank by nearly one-fifth (19.1%).

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California Trade Report

California’s merchandise export trade was down nearly 9% in February over the same month last year, according to a Beacon Economics analysis of foreign trade data released this morning by the U.S. Commerce Department.

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California Consumers: More Spending, Higher Costs

One of the main reasons for the disparity is the difference between California and the nation when it comes to the cost of housing – and this is readily apparent in the new numbers released by the BEA. The state has been in the midst of a housing shortage for years now, due in large part to regulatory hurdles such as the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and other legislation that constrains construction. The lack of supply pushes up prices and forces residents to commit more of their disposable income to housing. According to the real estate research firm DataQuick, the median price for an existing home in California was $388,000 in December 2014, nearly double the national median home price of $209,500, as reported by the National Association of Realtors.

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Taxing Services: A Step in the Right Direction

Much noise has been made over the years about California’s unfriendly tax environment. But an ongoing mantra at Beacon Economics is that California is not so much a ‘high’ tax state as a ‘dumb’ tax state. In other words, it is the structure of revenues that creates the problem, not simply the quantity being collected. This is important because it suggests that if we make certain logical changes to the structure of taxes in the state, it could simultaneously make California more business friendly while helping to cure the long-term deficit issues we still face – despite the current ‘balanced’ budget.

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Statistician, Heal Thyself

Better data from actual payroll records that the government collects as part of the unemployment insurance program suggest the average hotel worker is making almost 20% more than they are self reporting in the ACS data. And of course this fails to include the healthy tip income that many workers in the hospitality space earn, including waiters, valets, bellhops, and bartenders. In other words, clearly there are some low-income workers in the hotel field, but not nearly as many as the initial estimates the researchers would have you believe.

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California Trade Report

For the month of April, the state’s merchandise export trade totaled $14.09 billion, up 7.8% from the $13.07 billion in exports recorded in April 2013.

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Bringing a Knife to a Gunfight

There is little doubt that the bill’s sponsor, State Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) is well meaning in his effort. But well meaning is not the same as effective—and this bill, unfortunately, will not be remotely successful in dealing with the state’s affordable housing problem. It’s a shame California lawmakers can’t or won’t support meaningful reforms—primarily altering the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)—instead of offering more band-aids.

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2014 California Tribal Gaming Impact Study

Tribal gaming operations in California generated an estimated $8 billion in economic output in 2012 – $2.9 billion of which represented earnings by California workers – and supported over 56,000 jobs statewide. The 2012 operations had a roughly 7%-7.5% larger impact on California economic activity than in 2010.

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Calfiornia’s Nattering Nabobs of Negativism

Things can and should be better in California, and we should have real conversations about how to address the state’s problems.  We need real policy reforms, real tax reform, and real expenditure reform. But any real discussion has to begin on an honest footing, with a candid conversation about what is really happening in the state and local economies. Instead, headlines continue to be dominated by hype, hyperbole, and flat out nonsense.

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California Trade Report

For the month of February, the state’s merchandise export trade totaled $13.76 billion, up from the $12.70 billion in exports recorded in February 2013. By comparison, overall U.S. merchandise exports increased by just 0.3% during the same period.

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California’s Export Trade Growth Stumbles, But Still Edging Up

After a six-month streak of robust, often double-digit growth, California’s export trade slowed considerably in January, edging ahead just 2.1% over the same month a year earlier, according to a Beacon Economics’ analysis of foreign trade data released this morning by the U.S. Commerce Department.

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California Trade Report

For the month of November, the state’s merchandise export trade totaled $15.22 billion, a nominal 14.2% increase over the $13.33 billion in exports recorded in November 2012. By comparison, overall U.S. merchandise exports rose by 5.9% over the same period.

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