Winter-blend gasoline, the historically less-costly sibling of the summer blend, officially arrives Nov. 1 – and drivers in the Inland Empire and Orange County can look forward to paying a little less at the gas pump.
Utilities say that generous net metering rules were necessary to launch the solar industry, but now costs must be realigned. If they’re not, there could be a feedback loop where grid costs are shifted to non-net-metering customers, causing electric rates to rise.
These policies – and their predecessors over the years – are at the heart of rising housing and electricity costs, which are plaguing California’s massive population of struggling households. As a recent Manhattan Institute paper reveals, over 1 million Californians already face “energy poverty,” paying upward of 10 percent of their incomes to keep their lights on. The most hard-hit areas, the study found, were in inland communities, particularly the Central Valley, where the climate tends far more to extremes than in the more affluent coastal regions.
In the Bay Area, planners now mandate that all growth in the next 25 years will take place on 4 percent of the land, essentially contrary to the largely suburban growth that has characterized the region. It’s hard to see how this approach will do anything but spike real estate prices even higher.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s California Competes program has allocated some $200 million in tax credits in fiscal 2016 for companies to expand in or relocate to California.
It’s noteworthy that May marked California’s third consecutive month of sub-3 percent year-over-year job growth, by ADP’s math. While it’s hard to complain about growth, the last time California payrolls expanded this slowly was the first three months of 2012.
Together with officials from the adjacent Port of Los Angeles, “we will look at every possible way to improve that system,” Slangerup said in an interview last week. “The goal is to cut costs and improve speed. When we are done, it will revolutionize the entire marine supply chain.”
Mr. Lee’s disquieting assessment actually jibed with a 2013 report by the state auditor, which stated that, until the state’s health insurance exchange actually started enrolling Californians in health plans, its “future solvency” was ”uncertain.” Thus, Covered California was listed as a “high-risk” issue for the state.
“Similarly, a commitment to Draconian “renewable energy” goals has helped line the pockets of Silicon Valley investors and utilities at the expense of manufacturers, Main Street businesses and households. And when it comes to new housing, the green regime has created conditions that make the purchase or rental of housing outrageously expensive. In the process, California has gone from the 25th-worst state in terms of inequality in 1970 to fourth-worst in 2013. Sure, Silicon Valley companies, flush with investment cash desperate for returns, do well, as does high-end real estate. But the historic constituents of the Democrats – minorities, the poor, the working class – have gotten only crumbs, effectively sold out by their own clueless, and often corrupt, political class.”
In both the Bay Area and Southern California, plans are now being set to force the building of massive new towers in a few selected “transit-oriented” zones. In a bow to political realities, the planners say they won’t bring superdensity to the single-family neighborhoods beloved by Californians; the wealthy – including those who bought early and those with access to inherited money – will still be able to enjoy backyard play sets, barbecues and swimming pools.
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.
Even after California’s most massive public pension system reported that it’s regaining ground lost in the recession, many Orange County cities continue to grapple with painful shortfalls, especially the older burgs sporting their own police and fire departments. The newer, contract-heavy cities look lean and mean by contrast.
Since the Great Recession, the Texas model – built around lower taxes, less-stringent regulation and pro-business politics – has been the clearly ascendant of the two, with growth seen along a broad array of industries, including construction, manufacturing and technology, as well as energy. This economic diversity helped the state emerge from the recession far earlier than the rest of the country, recovering its 2007 jobs level by 2011. (California barely crawled into positive territory on jobs this past year.) Texas contributed 23 percent of U.S. economic growth in 2012 and 22 percent in 2011. Without Texas’ growth in this decade, the country could well still be in recession. . . California’s “boom” has come later in the cycle than Texas’, and is far more narrowly based, depending largely on the social media bubble, stock gains among its many wealthy residents and a surge in prices of high-end, coastal real estate. From October 2007 to October 2014, California gained a net 162,000 jobs; Texas in the same period added more than 1.2 million. Surprisingly, notes economist Dan Hamilton, the California tech industry has added barely 10,000 net jobs since 2007.
In all but forcing out fossil-fuel firms, California is shedding one of its historic core industries. Not long ago, California was home to a host of top 10 energy firms – ARCO, Getty Oil, Union Oil, Oxy and Chevron; in 1970, oil firms constituted the five largest industrial companies in the state. Now, only Chevron, which has been reducing its headcount in Northern California and is clearly shifting its emphasis to Texas, will remain.