Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
Published: Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013 – 12:00 am

Those on the starboard side of California’s political ledger often complain about the state’s high tax burden, its dense regulatory structure and other policies that make the state a difficult place in which to do business.

Those on the port wing dismiss those complaints as self-serving, not to mention selfish, and contend that our taxes and regulations are necessary elements of a civil society.

What’s missing in this perennial debate in the media and the halls of government is the effect of political policies on ordinary Californians.

It’s expensive just to live in California. Not only are taxes high, but the costs of housing, fuel, utilities and other necessities of day-to-day life are high as well. Overall, California ranks in the top 10 percent of states in cost-of-living calculations.

Some of the factors in the state’s high cost of living are beyond the realm of political and governmental policy, but others are not.

Housing costs are high, in part, because of high fees imposed by local governments, for instance.

The state demands that refiners brew gasoline especially for California and we have the highest fuel taxes in the nation; high fuel prices not only affect motorists but also costs of transporting food and other goods.

Our utility rates are high because of official decrees, and will climb higher as private and public power suppliers shift to “renewable” sources in the name of fighting climate change.

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