California is one of those states that unless you’re in the top 1% income bracket, you’re pretty much screwed. And even if you’re in that top 1%, you’ll still be screwed on some level. When it comes to housing though, the state’s situation has been out of control for a very long time (at least 25 years from what I can tell). Part of it is the influx of workers as a result of the dot com/tech boom. Since we have the jobs, people are going to come. Of course, LA has always been an attraction due to the vibrant beaches, Hollywood, the theme parks, etc. But the problem is that if you’re a native growing up here, it just becomes unbearable. So I have a solution that I feel is right for people like myself.
The solution I propose for California (and I know this will NEVER happen unless I’m in charge) is that long time residents, those who are actual natives, etc. should receive a massive tax break and/or a coupon that discounts housing cost similar to the way the UC system does for its residents. What I mean by this is that if you were born here, live XXX number of years here, are considered a permanent resident, have paid taxes for a long time, etc. you should (deservedly so) receive tiered discounts to homes.
So for instance, I am someone who:
- Was born in LA
- Paid taxes since 1999
- Am a permanent resident (even though I did spend 5 1/2 years in Japan at one point)
- Have half my family here (whether I want it or not)
- Have my vehicle registered here
- Went to school here (from start to finish)
This makes me a full blooded Angelino through and through and definitely a California native. Despite all that, I still cannot afford a condo, much less a house, even though I’ve literally paid my dues of growing up here. So my only alternative is to get chased away to another state because I know there isn’t any way I will be able to retire here. And I’m not the only person.
Unless you had early on possessed the foresight to purchase a home when it was actually affordable, you pretty much are screwed. With the rising cost of virtually everything along with state taxes, California practically is one of the worst states to live in cost-wise. If this state was actually safe with regards to crime and wasn’t accident prone due to poorly thought out streets and had a decent public transit system (it stinks all things considered), then perhaps I wouldn’t feel awful about where my tax dollars were going.
However, I doubt anything will improve during my lifetime. It’s too slow to see something like the Metro become half way usable. And even when it does, it’s out of the way and doesn’t give me a sense of safety compared to say Tokyo’s overcrowded subway system. There’s just something wrong all around there.
But the real issue is that people like myself are going to try to escape this madhouse once we are given the opportunity. In my case, it might be a spot like Las Vegas next door just because they have no state tax, is still close enough for dealing with business when the need arises, the housing is relatively affordable and the weather isn’t that bad (though supremely hot during the summer). But hey, the weather can get deadly hot out here too so what’s the difference?
Also, the way California has been transforming itself makes me sad. All the things that I grew up with are going away and I simply feel depressed all the time. My favorite mall growing up, Del Amo, is a shell of itself now completely converted into a ritzy yuppy spot predicated upon the cold, calculated analysis of some corporate owner (Simon) that redefined the ancient spot into a modernized, “hip” place of decadence and soullessness. Toys ‘R’ Us is long dead. Many buffets, restaurants, etc. are gone or dying out. Most of my friends are gone or far to reach. What is the driving motivation for me to stay any longer outside of sheer laziness?
The answer is quite simple: none.
But I have a feeling that others in my position probably feel the same way. California is doing a horrible job trying to retain people. Companies like Google, Facebook, etc. have ruined this state, the economy and the housing market in general. Maybe they along with the cancerous, self-indulgent pus filled pimple on ones ass known as Hollywood, will be the only things remaining in the future here. Heck, Brad Pitt himself said, “Cya!” (or better yet “I’ll see ya when I see ya” to paraphrase a quote from Oceans 13) because this state has zero clue on how to handle its economy demonstrate that even the rich have zero desire to stay.
If anything the state should be grateful for those who had been supporting it and enduring the various hardships wrought through shitty politics. Give us back our land/housing and maybe we’ll stick around. Otherwise, I’m outta here.