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In the ten years after 2007, Texas actually made strides in reducing homelessness. The total homeless population plummeted from 40,000 to just under 24,000 persons, a 40% drop. Yet after 2017, Texas homelessness started rising again, most especially among the “unsheltered” homeless, or those living on the streets. The unsheltered population increased from 7,000 to 10,500 people.[1] Some cities like Austin saw almost a 50% increase in unsheltered homeless in 2019 alone. Austin now has almost half of its homeless population outside of shelters, the highest rate in the state.[2]

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Summary

California has made sure that its local governments get no financial benefits from welcoming new residents, which explains why they allow so little building. The Cicero Institute wants to change that. We propose to reform the school grant system so local schools keep at least half of the new funds raised from property taxes and also allow local residents to redirect funding to schools, both of which are now impossible. These reforms will improve school districts and make California open to building again.

Introduction

For decades, California has been more resistant to new housing development than any other state. One of the reasons local California governments resist new homes is that the state government has made sure they receive few financial benefits from it.¹ California’s current school funding system, the Local Control Funding Formula or LCFF, ensures that cities can’t keep any of the money raised from new development. California also has, more famously or infamously, Proposition 13, which capped property taxes and limited the local fiscal benefits to growth. …

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Judge Glock & Devon Kurtz

INTRODUCTION

America’s law enforcement agencies are facing a public reckoning. In the wake of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s wrongful deaths at the hands of police officers, millions of Americas have taken to the streets to demand reform.

Polling shows that the American public is firmly behind police reform.¹ Maintaining public order is our government’s most basic and important role, but success in doing so depends on the public’s confidence in police. Although the large majority of police officers do a dangerous job well, and although most Americans don’t support more radical proposals to “defund the police,” they are upset about the perceived inability of police departments to hold bad officers accountable, and especially about the disproportionate impact of those bad officers on minorities and African-Americans. …

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I. Introduction

In the past ten years, San Francisco has spent unprecedented time, money, and effort attacking homelessness. It more than doubled spending on homeless services, from $150 million in 2011 to $360 million today. In 2018 it passed a special business tax, Proposition C, to create another $300 million more a year in homelessness funding. It opened a special Department of Homelessness in 2016 to focus on the issue.[1]

The result of this effort? The homeless population has increased from 5,700 to over 8,000, the majority of whom are unsheltered. There are over 9,700 homeless by the city’s own, more expansive, definition, or about 1 of every 100 residents of the city.[2] The city’s streets have become world-famous for their dangerous and unsanitary encampments.[3] The particularly devastating toll of the coronavirus outbreak on the city’s homeless population demonstrate both the city’s failures and the dangers of continuing to fail to address them.[4]

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At the commencement of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, the United States government flailed and then failed in its attempt to respond to the crisis. Americans couldn’t help but ask why the government didn’t have a plan for this situation, a situation that was not only predictable, but which many scientists and public officials had predicted numerous times.¹

The truth is the government had a plan. Most commentators forgot that just six months before the current outbreak, Congress passed the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2019, which offered funds and planning authority for just such a crisis as we now face.² …

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The “Yes-In-My-Backyard,” or YIMBY, movement in California has become the most powerful force for better housing in modern American history. Their success in advocating for more housing, through both state and local work, is incomparable.[1]

Yet much of the rhetoric of the supposedly pro-housing YIMBY movement attacks single-family housing, suburban development, and the common use of cars.[2] Since the majority of Californians live in suburbs and own their own homes, and since over 90% of households have at least one car, such attacks will limit YIMBYs’ ability to branch out from their urban base.[3] Despite claims by some YIMBYs, most Californians and most Americans are not opposed to single-family homes or cars, but want them to be cheaper, greener, and more convenient.[4]

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Prices don’t just reveal. They discipline. Prices allow consumers to goad businesses for the best deal, and they allow businesses to see how they can best their competitors.

In the healthcare industry, prices aren’t revealed and they don’t discipline. Prices for the same service can vary by factors of four or five between regions, between hospitals, and even within the same hospital. In fact, about 20% of all price variations come from charging different prices to similar patients in the exact same location.[1]

In June of 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services, along with other federal agencies, proposed a new rule, which would demand price transparency on at least 70 “shoppable” procedures from both hospitals and insurers. The rule would require hospitals and insurers to post publicly-accessible and machine-readable prices, both for cash and negotiated insurance prices, and both before and after insurance co-pays and deductibles.[2]

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Introduction

The Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), California’s largest electric utility, is in bankruptcy for the second time in 20 years. It filed this time in January of 2019, after its flagging power lines sparked over a dozen wildfires and over a hundred deaths, as well as hundreds of thousands of home evacuations and billions of dollars in damages. This year, its power lines caused more fires and more deaths, and the company began rolling blackouts to prevent continued casualties and costs. The blackouts have kept millions of Bay Area customers in the dark, often for days at a time. …

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California’s mild climate and extensive environmental regulations make the state a veritable environmental oasis in America. California is especially “green” in its low level of carbon emissions. The average Californian emits only 9 tons of Carbon Dioxide or its equivalent per year, the second lowest rate in the United States. In fact, California’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission rate is about half the national average, and less than 1/10th the level of the most polluting states.[1]

The average Californian emits only 9 tons of Carbon Dioxide or its equivalent per year, the second lowest rate in the United States.

Unfortunately, a handful of California’s supposed environmental laws actually work to drive people and homes out of the state, and into more polluting regions. Many of these laws treat new residents as contributors to California’s emission problem, instead of viewing them as they should, as reducers of global GHGs. Some of these laws may actually exacerbate, instead of ameliorating, global climate change. …

Judge Glock | Senior Policy Analyst| The Cicero Institute
Maleka Momand | CEO | Esper

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Introduction

Everyone hates paperwork. And as far as we know, no politician has run a campaign on expanding government red tape.

Yet despite the fondest hopes of politicians in both parties, the number of official forms Americans complete keeps expanding. Federal paperwork in particular has become a burdensome millstone around the neck of the American people, amounting to about 100 hours for every employee in the United States, or about two and a half weeks of work each year.[1]

One reason for this paper explosion is that paperwork reforms, although frequently proposed and occasionally adopted, are almost inevitably forgotten. Previous attempts to limit “paperwork” have been reshaped into the general attempts to reform the entire regulatory system. In the process, the seemingly simple and straightforward task of cutting paperwork hours has been snubbed. …

About

Judge Glock

Judge is the Senior Policy Analyst for The Cicero Institute. https://www.ciceroinstitute.org/

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