What is wrong with California?
By: Jimmy Terrell
Well, just about everything.
California is far from the state that served as my temporary home in 1967 for U.S. Army basic training or for return vacation trips in the 80s and 90s.
You have to look at where it stood then and where it stands now to see the entire picture.
California has been, and continues to be, blessed with beautiful coastlines and landscapes, natural resources, national parks and natural vistas that rank with any state. There are many who say the State of California has the greatest natural resources of any state in the union.
The only thing golden about The Golden State now is the Golden State Warriors basketball team.
The fall from grace has been long and hard.
In the late 60s, with a population of around 20 million, California was the envy of many states and even foreign countries.
It was strong economically and offered tremendous opportunities to businesses and all classes of people. Her leaders were considered visionary and the state was truly living with a “Midas touch.”
Water was a concern, so the state built a vast water project that was the dream of many western and mid-western states. It was designed to care for and support 25 million people and assorted industries.
But all was not gold as thought. The golden touch began to tarnish.
Today California is among the highest taxed states in the nation with some of the highest tax rates. Recent estimates point out that less than 150,000 of California’s 35 million people pay one-half of all its income tax.
A U.S. News study rated California as last among U.S. states in quality of life ratings.
That’s not good for the 40 million people living in the west coast state today or the additional 10 million people expected to move into the state in the next few years. Those numbers may be low due to the large number of homeless that are living in the streets and country side.
To make matters worse, the state has simply ignored its infrastructure, water supply systems and roads over the past five decades. The highways are rated as some of the worst in America.
More than 5% of the highway bridges are considered structurally insufficient, 678 dams have been rated as high hazard, and the state school system is estimated to be running a $3.2 billion shortfall.
There is over $1 trillion in unfunded pension liability on the books and that is thought to be a low estimate. In 2017, then-Governor Jerry Brown estimated the state had $187 billion in unmet infrastructure needs, but an economic agency said the state had unfunded needs in excess of $730 billion.
Homeless camps continue to spread along city streets and highways. San Diego is currently building large tent shelters to provide for their homeless people. Drug usage and disease is spreading much like the wild fires experienced by the state.
California is moving further left politically at a rapid pace and the younger Democrats like Kamala Harris and Gavin Newson are much more vocal and active than the current older group that includes Maxine Waters and Nancy Pelosi.
The younger group appears to be in support of universal healthcare which will cost the state as much as $400 billion a year by some estimates. They don’t appear to be concerned about the state’s debts, but do not see tax increases as a means of reaching their goals.
There is talk of a potential service tax which would be placed on businesses such as attorneys, hairdressers, accountants, lawyers, etc. as a new source of revenue.
That may be well and good for California, but the fear is that the rest of America will have to help foot the bill through bailouts.
America needs to be paying attention. Over the years, a lot of trends have always started on the west coast and moved across country to the east coast.
This is one trend we don’t want or need.