California Blues

By Bob Hazard   |   November 22, 2018

With the Democratic sweep in the November 2018 statewide elections, the Republican Party in California continues its descent into oblivion. The GOP won no statewide office. Democrats now have a death grip on California’s two U.S. Senate seats, all but eight of the 53 California U.S. House seats and a supermajority in Sacramento in the Assembly and the State Senate. The GOP in California has drifted closer to irrelevance than at any time since the state joined the Union in 1850. The takeover by Dems in what once was Ronald Reagan country is essentially complete, allowing “progressives” to legislate in any way they see fit.

Forty-four percent of voters in California are registered as Democrat compared to 25% for Republicans. For the first time ever, more voters identify as Independents at 25.5% than as Republicans. If you are a Republican in Montecito, six out of your 10 best friends are convinced you are a deranged deplorable.

Hopes for limited government, balanced budgets, personal responsibility, and lower taxes are as dead as dodo birds in California for at least the next decade.

Here’s What We Face

Of California’s 39.5 million residents, 68% live in coastal counties. Los Angeles County alone is home to 10.2 million residents, or 26% of California’s population. That plurality dominates California politics. Hispanics now account for more than 50% of Los Angeles County residents. African Americans account for another 10%. Non-Hispanic whites have shrunk to 30%; Asians 11%.

Only 60% of Los Angeles residents were born in this country; 60% speak English but 40% speak only Spanish. Just 60% live in a family household. The median household income is $48,610 in Los Angeles County.

What Has One-Party Democrat Rule Done for California?

Business Climate. California ranks 50th out of 50 states in Chief Executive magazine’s annual business survey as to which state is the most business-friendly. California has held that dead-last position for the last 12 years, edging out Illinois, New Jersey, and Connecticut. According to the Michael Milkin Institute in Santa Monica, operating costs for California businesses are 23% higher than the national average.

Taxes. California boasts the highest state income tax rate in the nation at 13.3%. Seven states – Texas, Florida, Nevada, Alaska, Wyoming, Washington, and South Dakota – have no state income tax. Texans can buy a new car every year on the money they save from having no state income tax to pay. Despite California’s Prop 13, property taxes are inflated because of the high value of homes and the high cost of construction. Both retard home ownership and economic growth. California has the highest sales tax rate in the United States at 7.25%.

Gasoline Taxes. California has the 2nd highest gasoline tax in the country at 55.5 cents per gallon, just behind Pennsylvania at 58.7 cents per gallon. Texas, without a state income tax, has a 20-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax. Alaska gasoline taxes are at 14.7 cents per gallon, followed by Missouri at 17.4 cents per gallon. California is the only state that taxes carbon emissions. It wants to eliminate all use of fossil fuels – natural gas, oil, diesel, and nuclear. It prefers expensive imported oil to domestic production.

What Has One-Party Rule Done?

Open Borders. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, the Golden State is home to 2.4 to 2.6 million illegal immigrants. Nearly a quarter of the nation’s illegal immigrants reside in California, where they constitute more than 6% of the state’s population. The Pew Research Center (PRC) estimates that some 71% of California’s undocumented population is Mexican-born with another 6% from Latin America. Half of the world’s population, or some 7.7 billion people, live on less than $2.50 per day. Most would join a caravan to escape their life of poverty to participate in the American Dream. How long can California support unlimited illegal immigration, ignore Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and favor sanctuary cities that harbor illegal immigrants?

Healthcare. With its new supermajority of Democrats, California can now pass legislation for a single-payer healthcare system, despite its first-year cost of $40 billion, added to an existing California budget of $201.4 billion.

Regulations. California seeks to regulate every aspect of its residents’ lives including the use of drinking straws. The state ranked 48th in “Overall Freedom” by the Cato Institute in policies that shape personal and economic freedoms. The state requires licenses for 198 different occupations, the most in the nation.

Entitlements. A whopping 30% of Californians receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families amounting to $7 billion per year. Sixty percent of all students attending California public schools now qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches. California has 20% of the homeless population in America. California spends $103 billion on public welfare expenditures, highest in the nation, compared to $61 billion in New York at #2, and $45 billion in Texas at #3.

Education. California scored 45th on “The Nation’s Report Card” for public school test scores, with significantly sub-par scores in math and reading. California teachers are the 5th highest-paid in the nation while California students rank 46th in math and 49th in reading. California has the largest number of children living in poverty and the highest percentage of English learners in the nation.

Energy Costs. Residential customers in California pay about 50% more for electricity than the national average.

State Debt. The California Policy Center estimates that state and local governments owe $1.3 trillion in unfunded pension liabilities, bonds, loans, and other debt instruments as of June 30, 2015, the latest date for good numbers. Government debt represents about 52% of California’s Gross State Product of $2.48 trillion. Not included is deferred maintenance to California’s crumbling infrastructure.

Crime. MS-13 imports violence; its “business” includes drug smuggling, child prostitution, illegal immigration, and ruthless retribution. It began in Los Angeles in the mid-1980s with illegal immigrants from El Salvador. Los Angeles has been nicknamed the “Gang Capital of America” because of its estimated 1,350 criminal gangs with some 120,000 foot soldiers.

Legal Reform. The Public Policy Institute of New York State ranks California at #45 in measuring the nation’s best-to-worst legal systems. Delaware ranks #1, Nebraska #2, and New York State #27. The good news is that Mississippi, West Virginia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Illinois all rank below California.

Infrastructure. All over the state, bridges, highways, dams, power grids, flood controls, water, sewer, schools, and other key projects are in a state of serious deterioration. Governor Brown’s list of ASAP projects total $100 billion in capital funding. California highways, once the finest in the world, are now inadequate and poorly maintained: in a word, shameful.

Pension Reform. The elephant on the surfboard for California is the unfunded pension and healthcare liability promised to California public employees. Collective debts that California taxpayers owe public pension funds are $769 billion, or $60,000 per California household, according to the Hoover Institute. 

Thanksgiving Wishes

As I pull apart my turkey wishbone, I’ll be rooting for California’s new governor to succeed, even though his “success” will mean more taxes and less liberty. But, because I live here and love this place, I do want him to do well.

Whatever that means.


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