Even as California residents grapple with an affordability crisis spurred by high taxes, far-left Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom wants to make them pay even more to fund his liberal agenda.
In a new op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Cypress Semiconductor CEO T.J. Rodgers writes that Newsom isdemanding over $500 million in new taxes as the state suffers from affordability issues that have contributed to homelessness while forcing workers and job creators to leave the state entirely. Rodgers writes that Newsom and his allies are “polishing their images over truly solving problems.”
While over-taxed Californians struggle to make ends meet under a colossal tax burden, Newsom appears committed to making life harder for working families throughout the Golden State.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom let his 2-year-old son run on stage to display his soft side as he delivered his inaugural address Jan. 7. Then he showed his command-and-control side by making clear he wants more spending and new taxes.
California took in record tax revenue in 2018, beating estimates by $1 billion according to the Los Angeles Times. But Mr. Newsom demanded even more: “I want to see the [companies in Silicon] Valley step up and match our contributions,” he said, referring to his proposed $500 million workforce-housing budget. It’s a classic big-government non sequitur: Overtaxed workers—including those who earn $100,000—are struggling to make mortgage payments, so Mr. Newsom’s solution is more taxes. He proposes to extract an extra $500 million so the state can subsidize the workers’ housing.
Could Mr. Newsom force companies to “match” the state’s “contributions”? In a state where the Franchise Tax Board legally revokes driver’s licenses without a trial—quite possibly.
In Newsom-speak, “The workforce housing issues have been accelerated by the success of a lot of these companies.” But private-sector success isn’t to blame for the state’s affordability problem. The real problem is government failure.
Consider this: Apple is investing $1 billion to create 5,000 jobs in Austin, Texas, where a $40,816 salary pays for the same lifestyle that costs $75,000 in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to Bankrate’s cost-of-living calculator. Housing is a big part of that: The median housing price (and mortgage payment) in Silicon Valley is 3.8 times as high as in Austin. That’s what happens when the government jacks up taxes, wastes money, and smothers the construction of new housing in bureaucracy.
The median house price in the San Francisco Peninsula’s San Mateo County exceeds $1.4 million, or about $900 a square foot. And California’s very high income and sales taxes leave little room for monthly mortgage payments that can easily exceed $6,000.
The affordability problem helped create California’s disproportionately high homeless population of 114,000, which the state subsidizes heavily but treats poorly. During a cold and rainy spell in December 2014, the city of San Jose flattened a 300-person homeless encampment and threw away many of the inhabitants’ belongings, including survival items such as tents, clothing and cooking utensils. If it had been done to a Third World village, it would have been labeled a human-rights violation.
It comes down to politics: Mr. Newsom owes his election as governor to a collection of radical environmentalists, Nimbys and unionized public employees whose demands leave almost no room for the flow of free-market capital to new housing projects. Since Mr. Newsom can’t punish his own supporters, he wants to extort another blank check from business, even though Californians already approved Proposition 1 in 2018, which authorized $4 billion for affordable housing. That funding remains unused more than a year later because California politicians prioritize polishing their images over truly solving problems.