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Eggs have long been understood to be an inexpensive yet highly nutritious food that helps stretch the family budget. But eggs aren’t so cheap in California anymore, and buying them is making poor people poorer in the state, thanks to liberal Democrats. In fact, California egg prices have soared 150% in the last year, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture study reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, up from $1.46 a dozen in May 2014 to $3.61 today. The Safeway in the Diamond Heights district of San Francisco is charging $5.99 a dozen now. This spike in egg prices is having the biggest negative effect on California’s lowest wage earners, who are seeing their already meager disposable incomes dwindle in the face of the state’s ever increasing cost of living, which is only being driven higher and higher by the policies enacted by liberal Democrats who control the state. Egg prices have been driven up, in no small part, by the enactment of Proposition 2, which was promoted by liberal elites and now requires all eggs in California to be produced only at farms where the chickens can move around freely. California’s law requires that farms ensure hens have almost twice the space required for sale in the country’s other 49 states, and the result is fewer farms able to sell in California and significantly higher costs to California’s consumers. The poor are of course hurt the most.
And at the same time as the price of eggs are going through the roof, liberal policies have made California’s gasoline the most expensive in the nation. Californians already pay among the highest gas taxes at the pump in the country, about 62 cents a gallon. Add to that the additional cost, as a result of our unique environmental laws, that require our gas be specially manufactured to reduce emissions. In mid-August, the average price for a gallon of regular gas nationwide was $2.61; but in California, the average price was $3.63, if you could find it! Low income wage earners often depend upon transportation to find employment and to keep their jobs. One study showed that in the Central Valley, poorer residents can spend as much as 10% of their disposable income just on gasoline. Yet while emissions in Los Angeles caused by automobiles have been reduced by over 98%, and the air is just getting cleaner as more low emission vehicles enter the market, California’s expensive and outmoded environmental rules keep the cost of gasoline at the highest in the nation–and the poor suffer the most.
California’s high cost of living has only been made worse by the tax policies of the liberal Democrats in control. Our state sales tax is the highest in the nation, which raises the cost of most every retail transaction. The high cost of living in the state has made it the poorest in the nation according to the Census Bureau, with 24% of Californians living at or below the poverty line.
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But liberal Democrats just continue to enact policies that make living in California more expensive. Now, liberals are seeking to crush California’s poor even more. In Sacramento, rather than rearrange spending priorities, liberal Democrats are planning to raise the gas tax another 12 cents a gallon, and raise vehicle licensing fees as well. They intend to raise property taxes on commercial real estate too, which will make renting an apartment more expensive. These policies will drive up the cost of living even more, and make our state’s low income wage earners even poorer. When government pushes the cost of food, transportation, and housing to such an extreme that poverty only worsens, it means other bad things are going to happen in the state, like rising violent and property crime rates; and we all ought to start taking notice.
James V. Lacy is principal author and editor of the new book, “Taxifornia 2016: 14 Essays on the Future of California,” now available at the CreateSpace eStore here: https://www.createspace.com/5497002, and at Amazon and other outlets after Labor Day.
This commentary originally appeared on CaliforniaPoliticalReview.com.
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