California

California Poverty Plan Offers a Wealth of Bad Ideas

Donations flowing to statewide initiative that would impose surcharge on pricey properties

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As state legislators in California return to the Capitol in January, there's little question the issue of poverty will be high on the agenda. Legislative Democrats have been dismayed that the governor held the line on new social-welfare spending last session and are eager to step up public funding for new and existing programs. And news reports suggest a major new anti-poverty initiative, backed by some charitable organizations, already is garnering serious donations.

Expect poverty to be "big" this year. Even legislative Republicans haven't resisted too much. They've generally been OK with new spending proposals—provided they're funded without raising taxes. We'll have to wait and see any specifics from legislators, but we already know the details of the so-called "Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Act." It's likely to spark a spirited debate during the November 2016 election season given the size of the tax increase it would impose on property owners.

That initiative is one of several possible tax-hike intiatives on the ballot, and proponents appear ready to start collecting signatures. It would impose what supporters call "a sensible and fair surcharge on properties with values of over $3 million" that keeps "all Proposition 13 property tax protections against reassessments … in place."

As the official state summary explains, "Surcharge based on a sliding scale ranging from three-tenths of one percent for real property assessed at $3 million to eight-tenths of one percent for real property assessed at $10 million or more."

The resulting cash flow—between $6 billion and $7 billion a year, based on a Legislative Analyst's Office estimate—would fund anti-poverty programs. The money would be deposited in a new state fund. As the LAO explains, the initiative would identify high-poverty areas as "California Promise Zones" and earmark funds for home-visitation and prenatal services, job training tax credits, a personal income tax credit for low-income workers, and funding for the existing CalWORKS aid program and the California Earned Income Tax Credit.

"Attacking poverty requires an unprecedented investment," the initiative argues. "There are proven and effective strategies to fight poverty, but to succeed on a large scale they must be fully funded and sustained over a generation." The term, "fully funded," is open ended, given the size of the existing need. The Census Bureau's new poverty measurement method places California at the top of the high-poverty list because of the state's high cost of living—with a poverty rate of more than 23 percent.

Even California has only a limited number of high end houses, so this measure becomes a new tax on many commercial properties. As a result, critics say it's a tax on job creation. It could make it more costly for brick-and-mortar companies to expand their operations. The measure was amended to include an exemption for all but the most costly rental properties based on a formula.

Business groups have had their hands full worrying about a variety of proposed tax increases that could make it onto the November ballot. Their chief concern: a new "split roll" tax system that would strip away tax-limiting Proposition 13's protections from commercial properties, but that idea has been punted until 2018. So this measure is likely to be the big property-tax-raising idea for the coming election season. Opponents are still analyzing the details, but we can expect a vigorous "no" campaign. Supporters need more than 585,000 signatures to qualify it for the ballot.

There's no question the advocates for the initiative, including the Daughters of Charity Foundation, identify a serious problem: "California has the highest rate of poverty in the nation… Without a comprehensive attack on poverty and its root causes, the future of California is at risk."

But critics say it's not the solution: "(The state) works really hard to disincentivize business and job creation," said Rex Hime, president of the California Business Properties Association. Then when people are in poverty because they can't get a good job, he said the state imposes even higher taxes on the businesses that create the jobs that reduce poverty.

Even with strong economic growth, the poverty rate remains extremely high in large part because of California's high housing costs, according to a recent analysis from the Public Policy Institute of California. As a result, poverty isn't just found in economically hard pressed areas (the San Joaquin Valley and Imperial Valley), but in otherwise booming—but costly—major metro areas such as San Diego and San Francisco. Without government social-service programs, PPIC added, "more Californians would live in poverty." That is true, but is more spending on those programs the main answer?

I suspect most Californians would prefer a good job and affordable housing to a bigger government-assistance check. "I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion about the means," said Benjamin Franklin. "I think the best way of doing good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it." It would be a step forward if Franklin's point will at least be rasied as California leaders embark on yet another anti-poverty campaign.

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  1. The stated problem is always only the handiest excuse on which to hang new controls. To keep fooling voters, the proggies continually advance the narrative that rich people and businesses are at fault and therefore must be robbed. The money they loot and redistribute is the proggies equivalent of scalps, and has no intrinsic value to them.

    It’s easy enough to cover up the fact that economic freedom is the one true path to eliminate poverty. Look, say proggies; look at all the rich people and businesses are steal money from consumers with 23 varieties of deodorant, who refuse to pay living wages to french fry flingers, who buy expensive cars and homes and private jets while refusing to help the poor downtrodden public with high speed trains.

    And the public buys it, because they all get some benefit or other from proggie government, and while they probably think government is full of waste, darned if they will give up their benefits while everyone else gets to keep theirs. So everyone keeps theirs, while proggies create more faux benefits for more people, tightening the noose, and no one is willing to admit their own benefits are part of the noose.

    How will it end? What happens when they run out of other people’s money? Hyper inflation? Socialist dictatorship? Economic collapse? It won’t be revolution; too many people are vaccinated against rebellion by the benefits they get, no matter how meager and expensive.

  2. the initiative would identify high-poverty areas as “California Promise Zones”

    If the English language were a woman, I’d agree we have a rape culture.

    1. Oh come now. She deserved with the way she was flaunting those weird grammar rules.

  3. Much of California’s poverty was imported, as a consequence of donor politics and not very wise voters.

  4. talk about stupidity all of California’s laws especially their housing laws are wy there are so many homeless. Taxes have never brought anyone out of poverty

    1. Nope, but they’ll sure fix inequality.

  5. Anti-Poverty Plan = More Poverty

    Can really, really, really sad things also be ironic?

  6. “California has the highest rate of poverty in the nation… Without a comprehensive attack on poverty and its root causes, the future of California is at risk.” … Hmm, anyone find the part of the plan that attacks poverty at its root causes?

    “The resulting cash flow?between $6 billion and $7 billion a year, based on a Legislative Analyst’s Office estimate?would fund anti-poverty programs. The money would be deposited in a new state fund.” … So, slush fund?

  7. “but to succeed on a large scale they must be fully funded and sustained over a generation.”

    So… admitting to enslaving yet another generation of welfare recipients…

    CB

  8. The reason there is so much (relative) poverty in California is because liberal policies have made the cost of living so astronomically high.

    What’s the effect of these anti-poverty programs going to be? People who would buy homes more expensive than $3 million (a nice home, but not exactly ultra-wealthy in the Bay Area) are going to push down into the middle class range of homes to avoid taxes, raising their prices and lowering their availability. At the same time, the money given to people with lower incomes will simply drive up the prices for low-end rentals and properties, rippling all the way up to the middle class. The middle class itself gets squeezed.

    Democrats, get a clue: your “anti-poverty programs” are hurting the middle class. That’s because, ultimately, the only large group of people with enough money to finance anything is the people around the middle of the income distribution, and when you engage in redistribution, it’s that middle of the income distribution that’s invariably going to pay for it, one way or another.

  9. CA has been a leader in innovation for generations.
    But, where those innovations were once a positive advancement for society, today they are a drag upon it.

  10. Because of these insane liberal polices, people are leaving CA in droves.

  11. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.
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  12. Maybe they should dramatically increase the numbers of high wealth immigrants, you know like the millions they have imported of the past x decades?

    Idiots import more poor people and watch them go on welfare, then complain that there are a lot of poor people. You cannot make this shit up.

  13. It is arrogant to believe that continually supplying income to able people will make their lives better. What gives people the notion that treating fellow humans like pets benefits society at large? Witness Oakland, Ca. where four generations of welfare recipients live in the same public housing. If you are a young woman living in one of these apartments with your mother, you can get pregnant and get your very own apartment in the same building, and so on. You must meet criteria of helplessness to maintain your apartment- now you are truly trapped. You are a kept person, a pet. Would you wish this life on a loved one? Why do we reward people who bear children they cannot care for? Welfare states produce hybrid “pet” people that are less self sufficient than the generation before. Of course no one in this country should starve or go without needed medical care! But let’s assist one another respectfully, with honor. The notion that some people are “lesser” is perpetuated by the new Liberal, who apparently see themselves, arrogantly so, as righteous stewards of society.

    1. Subsidizing X results in more of X.

      Progressives get that when X = solar, public transit, renewable energy.

      When X = poverty, somehow they think the world works differently.

  14. My first job out of High School was at St Paul and over the next 5 years Iearned so very much. Seeing the hospital torn down tears a small piece of my heart out. The Daughters of Charity and the doctors and staff of St Paul Hospital will always be with me.
    ??????????? htt://www.HomeSalary10.com

  15. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.
    +_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+ http://www.buzznews99.com

  16. The best safety net is a job, and then another one to go to if you lose the first one. The economic malaise continues.

  17. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do..

    Clik This Link inYour Browser….

    ? ? ? ?www.WorkPost30.com

  18. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do..

    Clik This Link inYour Browser….

    ? ? ? ?http://www.WorkPost30.com

  19. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.
    +_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+ http://www.buzznews99.com

  20. My first job out of High School was at St Paul and over the next 5 years Iearned so very much. Seeing the hospital torn down tears a small piece of my heart out. The Daughters of Charity and the doctors and staff of St Paul Hospital will always be with me.
    ???????????http://www.HomeSalary10.com

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