Costly Golden State

As any Economics 101 student knows, when the federal government creates billions/trillions of dollars out of thin air, the result is massive inflation. That inflation has now reached a 40-year high, and those with low and moderate incomes are bearing the heaviest burden.

Even so, Californians pay more. Compared to national averages, Californians pay a 46% premium for gasoline, (now approaching $7 a gallon) a 37.4% premium for diesel fuel, a 73% premium on residential electricity, and nearly a 50% premium for natural gas. 47% of all Californians and 61% of renters report that housing costs are a major strain. This month, homeowners with a $300,000, thirty-year fixed loan and an average interest rate of 6.02% had a monthly payment of $1,803. Just last year, the average rate was 2.86%, with a monthly payment of $1,242. Groceries just experienced the largest 12-month increase since 1979. Examples include the cost of a dozen eggs -- $3.12 last month, up from $1.71 a year ago. In short, everything is up, increases are continuing – there’s no end in sight.

California’s tax and regulatory burdens are a big part of this. We have the highest gas taxes, some of the nation’s highest state and local taxes, and we’re famous for over-regulation and bureaucratic red tape.  

This all can be fixed. The Legislature should repeal gas tax increases the majority mandated through SB 1 and use the transportation fund to actually improve transportation as well as use part of our state’s surplus to pay for highways. We can waive unnecessary regulations that make housing unaffordable and that drive up the cost of utilities. We should adopt broad-based tax reform to reduce the impact of taxes and mitigate rising costs for virtually everything.

The 2023-2024 legislative session begins December 5th. Making California affordable again must be a top priority.