Why do states with Democratic majorities fail to live up to their values?

Vagabond

Well-Known Member
Messages
20,558
I have made the following link accessible to all.


In many states — including California, New York and Illinois — Democrats control all the levers of power. They run the government. They write the laws. And as we explore in the video above, they often aren’t living up to their values.

In key respects, many blue states are actually doing worse than red states. It is in the blue states where affordable housing is often hardest to find, there are some of the most acute disparities in education funding and economic inequality is increasing most quickly.
The video focuses on three issues: housing availability, regressive or progressive tax rates, and funding for public schools.

I particularly liked the suggestion that states, rather than local school districts, collect property taxes and distribute them equitably.

This is not entirely he fault of Democrats, and I don't know that Republican-led states are necessarily any better at any of this. Some of the problems, such as single-family zoning and local funding of school districts, are deeply ingrained and predate the rise of the current Democratic domination of politics in these states. The list of the ten states with the most regressive tax rates has several red states on it, led by Texas.

While the video focuses on voters, especially with respect to housing issues, politicians make decisions all the time based on other conditions. In San Francisco, for example, the Board of Supervisors denied approval for a plan backed by Sean Haney, the Supervisor representing the particular district, to allow the building of mixed-income housing on a lot used for valet parking for a department store. The most commonly stated reason, including by the Supervisor who represents my district and is an advocate for higher-density housing, was that the proposal wasn't good enough and that the any housing built at the site should be for affordable housing. It has, however, been suggested that some or all of those who voted no did so at least in part because they support Haney's leading rival in an upcoming special election for a seat in the State Assembly.


Thoughts?
 

MacMadame

Doing all the things
Messages
45,364
I particularly liked the suggestion that states, rather than local school districts, collect property taxes and distribute them equitably.
CA mostly does that already. The vast majority of school funding comes from the state and not local property taxes.
 

Vagabond

Well-Known Member
Messages
20,558
CA mostly does that already. The vast majority of school funding comes from the state and not local property taxes.
The examples given in the video were Illinois, particularly Cook County, which has more than 100 school districts, and Connecticut.
 

MacMadame

Doing all the things
Messages
45,364
The examples given in the video were Illinois, particularly Cook County, which has more than 100 school districts, and Connecticut.
I'm just pointing out that at least one Blue state already does this.

I consider the article more Dem blaming. Full of cherry-picked examples. Apparently, we are responsible for all the country's problems, not the people actively trying to subvert our democracy. 🤷‍♂️ Obviously, that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to do better. But IME CA is a leader in innovative programs designed to solve our housing crisis and other problems.
 

Vagabond

Well-Known Member
Messages
20,558
But IME CA is a leader in innovative programs designed to solve our housing crisis and other problems.
California has a severe housing shortage.

If you follow the link for footnote 3 here you can find this, from 2016:
California ranks 49th among the 50 US states for housing units per capita. Benchmarked against other states on a housing units per capita basis, California is short about two million units. To satisfy pent-up demand and meet the needs of a growing population, California needs to build 3.5 million homes by 2025.

I doubt that this situation has changed meaningfully in the past five years. As discussed in the video, job growth in the San Francisco Bay Area outstrips any increase in the supply of housing.

To which "innovative programs" are you referring, and what have they done to solve the housing crisis?
 

MacMadame

Doing all the things
Messages
45,364
To which "innovative programs" are you referring, and what have they done to solve the housing crisis?
Project Homekey to get homeless people into housing and not shelters. Once in housing, they have the stability to work with counselors to get into permanent housing. This "Housing First" approach is backed up by data but many places in the US do not follow it and just criminalize homelessness and move them around whenever people complain.

There were also a series of bills passed recently whose numbers I don't remember that allow the following:
A lot can now be split into two and two houses built on it even if zoned for single-family housing
Changing in zoning making it easier to put an ADU on your property
And a couple of other things I suddenly can't remember. :rofl: (Sorry, I'm sure I'll find the list again just when it doesn't matter anymore.)

There are several reasons that CA has a housing crisis and they are similar to states like FL that are also having one. The top ones are:
  • High demand to live here because of good jobs and nice weather
  • Limited land that is suitable for building on (i.e., we're built out)
  • Developers can't make a profit on affordable housing and so will not build that kind of housing unless coerced or bribed

The first two things are unsolvable IMO. The second can be and there are programs in place to do so though it's questionable how well they work. We are still looking for the magic bullet on that one.

Yes, richer cities like Palo Alto (mentioned in the slide show) are full of NIMBYs. But so are similar cities in so-called Red states. Being a NIMBY is human nature and it's even more prevalent in richer cities which may not even be all that Blue depending.

CA, in particular, has large sections of it that vote conservatively. So to say it's a Blue state and all its problems are because Dems are hypocrites is a very shallow analysis. The problems we have are much more complex than that.
 

Vagabond

Well-Known Member
Messages
20,558
The journalists who made the Op-Ed piece clearly support Democratic principals on housing, taxation, and education and believe that the party can do better than it is doing.

Programs specifically addressing homelessness may or may not solve the overall problem of housing supply.

Do they create new units? Sometimes, if there is construction or if existing properties are converted to residential use.

California as a whole is not built out. There is undeveloped land, there are properties that can provide an opportunity for infill or conversion to housing use, revising zoning regulations can promote housing density, and politicians can stop letting perfection, e.g., turning that parking lot into a low-income housing, get in the way of progress, e.g., turning it into mixed-income housing.

Yes, there are Republican NIMBY's too, but I hope that Democrats have more to say than, "But they are doing it too!"
 

MacMadame

Doing all the things
Messages
45,364
Do they create new units? Sometimes, if there is construction or if existing properties are converted to residential use.
Project Homekey converts motels into housing. So in a way that's new units.

California as a whole is not built out.
But SF is absolutely built-out. So if I work in the Bay Area, I'm supposed to move 4 hours away and commute 8 hours a day to get affordable housing?
 

sk9tingfan

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,063
The journalists who made the Op-Ed piece clearly support Democratic principals on housing, taxation, and education and believe that the party can do better than it is doing.

Programs specifically addressing homelessness may or may not solve the overall problem of housing supply.

Do they create new units? Sometimes, if there is construction or if existing properties are converted to residential use.

California as a whole is not built out. There is undeveloped land, there are properties that can provide an opportunity for infill or conversion to housing use, revising zoning regulations can promote housing density, and politicians can stop letting perfection, e.g., turning that parking lot into a low-income housing, get in the way of progress, e.g., turning it into mixed-income housing.

Yes, there are Republican NIMBY's too, but I hope that Democrats have more to say than, "But they are doing it too!"
Principles.....
 

purple skates

Shadow Dancing
Messages
22,170
Because it’s very easy to talk the talk and not walk the walk. Voters can feel good about voting for people who say things like they will end homelessness, then ignore the problems because they “did their part”. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that most of those voters aren’t willing to (or economically can’t) pay the taxes necessary for those programs. The politicians know this. So they keep making promises they can’t keep, the voters keep feeling good about supporting the people making those promises, and nothing changes.
 

Vagabond

Well-Known Member
Messages
20,558
Because it’s very easy to talk the talk and not walk the walk. Voters can feel good about voting for people who say things like they will end homelessness, then ignore the problems because they “did their part”. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that most of those voters aren’t willing to (or economically can’t) pay the taxes necessary for those programs. The politicians know this. So they keep making promises they can’t keep, the voters keep feeling good about supporting the people making those promises, and nothing changes.
It's good to see you posting here in PI, @purple skates. :)

I will note that homelessness is only part of the housing problem. The housing shortage affects people who do have housing but cannot afford to buy a home, live in overcrowded dwellings, cannot afford to move to an area with higher-paying jobs, etc. While increasing tax rates may solve part of this problem, e.g., by subsidizing housing, it wouldn't do anything at all to address problems caused by zoning, difficulties in getting planning permission and building permits, or, most likely, soaring property values.

Your post brings up another issue discussed in the Op-Ed, namely regressive income tax rates.

California actually has one of the most progressive tax structures in the country, though the richest 1% pays a lower effective rate than the poorest 20%. Washington State, however, the home of Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, has the most regressive tax rates of any state. This list is from 2018:
#1. Washington

Index: –12.6%

Tax rate for the poorest 20%: 16.8%
Tax rate for the middle 60%: 10.1%
Tax rate for the top 1%: 2.4%

I think it would be hard to argue that the tax burden

Poorest 20% to top 1% ratio: 687%
Middle 60% to top 1% ratio: 412%[/QUOTE]
"'Index' is the ITEP Tax Inequality index, which takes into account the percentages of wealth paid in total taxes by the lower, middle, and upper classes, and then compares the rates."

Illinois and Pennsylvania rank fifth and sixth, respectively.

Why don't Democrats in Washington State institute a progressive tax structure?
 

AxelAnnie

Like a small boat on the ocean...
Messages
13,981
I think a more accurate explanation is Democrats don't honor their promises.
I live in Pelosi land.....you know go to the hairdresser's maskless...or this last weekend she attended a lavish wedding maskless. She speaks out of both sides of her mouth and her butt!

I have not read the entire post but I will correct one thing. Property taxes nationwide go to the county where the property is located.
Principles.....
 

AxelAnnie

Like a small boat on the ocean...
Messages
13,981
Principles.....
The journalists who made the Op-Ed piece clearly support Democratic principals on housing, taxation, and education and believe that the party can do better than it is doing.

Programs specifically addressing homelessness may or may not solve the overall problem of housing supply.

Do they create new units? Sometimes, if there is construction or if existing properties are converted to residential use.

California as a whole is not built out. There is undeveloped land, there are properties that can provide an opportunity for infill or conversion to housing use, revising zoning regulations can promote housing density, and politicians can stop letting perfection, e.g., turning that parking lot into a low-income housing, get in the way of progress, e.g., turning it into mixed-income housing.

Yes, there are Republican NIMBY's too, but I hope that Democrats have more to say than, "But they are doing it too!"
California? Right. How about Nevada....there is hardly anything there? Do you know how high construction costs are?

A VAT tax would clear up.the tax inequities..individuals are then inn total control of what they pay.

Just building houses does not fix the problem.
In my opinion the solution is multifaceted.

1. Make it illegal (like it used to be) for people to live on the streets, and move them to tent housing...similar to the housing for illegals crossing the border.

Build facilities for people that actually helps them. In one location there would be different sections / buildings. Etc.

One section is for mentally ill or people who simply cannot live on themselves. They would be cared for and help to increase abilities and independence.

Next a prison section. A percentage of the homeless are criminals. This would help the over crowding and the early outs.

Next a section for families or singles who want to improve their situation. And last a section for job training and job placement.

Lastly...you want to eat? Get out there and work in the facility gardens.
 
Last edited:

DORISPULASKI

Watching submarine races
Messages
12,813
I have not read the entire post but I will correct one thing. Property taxes nationwide go to the county where the property is located.
No they don't. New England is micropolitan. Our counties do not do anything except exist as a statistical convenience and as a label for the courthouse. There is no county government or county tax.

Real estate tax is town by town, which makes inequities between rich towns and poor towns larger and more difficult to level.

Currently, Connecticut has 169 independent school districts, one for each town in the state. That Balkinization contributes to segregated systems as well as educational disparities, says state Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell.

"The governance structure in Connecticut and New England encourages that kind of separation between towns that may not be so far apart in terms of distance but can be far apart in terms of demographics.

This why Vermont, notably blue, does real estate tax on a statewide basis, not a local basis:


Connecticut is rich state, and collects real estate tax locally, but allocates money to poorer towns and cities from the state income tax. In fact, it is dollar for dollar pretty even. But poorer school districts need more money, not the same amount.

To help level the playing field, Connecticut has long had a statewide Education Cost Sharing program that distributes additional funds to struggling urban districts. It's currently a $2 billion bucket of money, which brings urban school funding in line with other parts of the state. In fact, dollar for dollar, urban schools in Connecticut are funded at levels equal to or in some cases higher than their suburban counterparts.

This has not worked well. It has not fixed the achievement gap.

The system broke in 2016 when a court case declared the system inequitable. The Supreme Court, however, overturned the decision.


From 2018:

Since the article was written, in CT, and in New London County we have more regional/magnet schools than we did. There is Marine Sciences in Groton City, Science & Technology in New London, and Regional Multicultural Magnet School in New London, and Three Rivers and Norwich Free Academy in Norwich. These are the three most urban towns in our county.


This approach still leaves many students behind.

Pressures by the state on towns to have all schools in each town have about the same level of diversity have caused towns like Groton which had three middle schools to replace them with a single middle school.

Despite all the difficulties, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire typically rank well educationally.


As to housing, our problems are like San Francisco's. We have the fourth highest population density
We are an urban state. Most blue states are:

We have fewer places to build affordable housing and as many NIMBY folk as anywhere else.
 

clairecloutier

Well-Known Member
Messages
12,512
I have to go back and re-read everything here, but I’m going to start from the point that I live in a blue state (MA) and that there are certain things about living here that I definitely think are outcomes of a more progressive viewpoint, and that I really value and that have made a difference in my life. We have stricter gun laws, access to abortion, some of the best schools in the country (if comparing between states), one of the strongest special education systems, mail-in and early voting currently, plus there are various healthcare laws which are helpful, such as a requirement that insurance companies in this state cover fertility treatment. I’m sure there is much more too, this is only what I’m personally aware of. But it does all make a difference and, TBH, I’m not sure which other state I would move to at this point. I suppose we do pay a price for all this in taxes but it’s worth it. (I would also be willing to pay a further tax increase if it were aimed specifically at teachers and teaching paraprofessionals in schools.) I mean maybe blue states aren’t paradises but what we have in MA is vastly better than, say, TX, in terms of policy and governance. This is also not even getting into the CV19 response among different states. 😳

The housing problem is really, really difficult, so much so that I don’t even know what to say about it. My city is one of the more affordable in the Boston area, but even here, the battle over adding more affordable housing, or more housing, period, is intense. There is a lot of conservatism—many people don’t want things to change. It’s an ongoing issue in our city council and has been for several years.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top
Do Not Sell My Personal Information