James Gallagher

James Gallagher, assemblyman

Since joining the State Assembly in 2014, I’ve watched the Legislature vote on bill after bill that raises the cost of living in California. Every year, my colleagues in the majority pile on more rules, regulations and taxes that burden California families and chase employers away.

Wondering why your PG&E bill keeps going up? It’s because the ruling party in Sacramento passed a law that mandates utilities purchase power from 100 percent renewable sources. This is why we pay 80 percent more for electricity in California than any other state.

Wondering why it costs so much to fill your gas tank? It’s because the majority in power raised the gas tax in order to backfill the road maintenance budget they raided.

At the same time they pass these bills jacking up the cost of living, I’ve watched them kill nearly every effort that would give the Middle Class a break or remove costly regulations that would save people money.

No one should be surprised by the fact that California has the highest poverty rate in the nation. A new report is out showing that more than 18 percent of California’s 40 million residents are living below the poverty line.

Let’s be clear: There is a direct nexus between homelessness and the government-imposed cost of living in California.

There’s no question that the Yuba-Sutter region has seen a surge in its homeless population over these last five years. This isn’t a coincidence folks. 

And what is the solution from Sacramento? More big government.

This legislative session, the majority party in Sacramento had the audacity to blame the housing and homeless crisis on Uber drivers and landlords. They jammed through a rent control measure on the second to last day of the legislative session in the name of “helping” those living on the margins.

Rent control will decrease housing supply. This is a fact. Everywhere it has been tried it has had that effect. And we already have a monumental housing shortage of approximately 1 million units.

This bill will result in higher rents; in fact it allows them to increase by 8 percent every year. Government intrusion causes people to do things they otherwise would not. In a free market where there is adequate supply, landlords would have to compete for tenants and rents would be lower. At the very least increases would be smaller and over a longer period of time. But when supply is limited and rents are capped, corporate landlords will simply raise their rents to the cap every year: in this bill that is 5 percent plus inflation for a total of 8 percent. Are your wages going up 8 percent every year?

There is no silver bullet to fix California’s housing crisis, but we must start by addressing the root causes: a lack of skilled workers, frivolous litigation, and massive regulatory obligations.

We must start by building a greater supply of housing units across the spectrum: from single family homes, to multifamily, to apartments.

Forcing a statewide rent control scheme will turn our current housing shortage into an economic disaster. I’m urging Governor Newsom to veto this misguided bill. I hope you will join me.


 

James Gallagher, a Yuba City Republican, is the area assemblyman.

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