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New California laws, plus why people are leaving the state

 January 5, 2024 at 2:57 PM PST

S1: This week on roundtable , we take a look at some of the state's new laws for 2024.

S2: We've really seen a sort of continuing breakthrough in bills that seek to speed up development and construction.

S1: Many of the laws target are high cost of living and labor rules for the state.

S3: A law requires employers to give employees five days off.

S1: Now we discuss what they mean for Californians next. Plus , how much impact will Californians moving out of state have on our economic future ? Stay tuned for Kpbs roundtables coming up next. 2023 proved to be a busy year for California lawmakers , who passed nearly a thousand new state laws. Many of these laws took effect Monday with the start of the new year , and we wanted to dig into some of these to see how they'll impact health care , housing affordability , our work lives and more here in California. Joining us now to break things down are Samia Carmel , California politics reporter from Cal Matters , and Jeremy B white , senior reporter covering California politics for Politico. Welcome to roundtable and happy New Year to you both. Samia , before digging into these new laws , I wanted to set the stage here first , if we could , you know , something around 1000 new laws. That sounds like a lot to me.

S3: About 1000 of the bills were passed at the end of the legislative session at the end of September. About 15% were vetoed. Um , so we're looking at about , you know , close to 900 bills that were that were signed. Many , as you mentioned , went into effect on January 1st. So , yeah , I think we're pretty on par for the course for what we tend to see each year in California.

S1: So , Jeremy , so it sounds like that's kind of a normal year.

S2: We saw a couple major deals on wages for health care and fast food workers. That was a big one. And I think on another hot topic , which is housing , we've really seen a sort of continuing breakthrough in bills that seek to speed up development and construction , a lot of which stalled out in recent years , having a lot of momentum behind them. And and seemingly surmounting a lot of those hurdles that had previously held them back.

S1: So , yeah , let's dig into housing. I mean , like you mentioned , you know , we've seen a lot of movement , both at the state level and here locally to ease zoning rules in order to spur more housing production. And one new law that went into effect in 2024 , it's informally known as the Yes in God's Backyard bill.

S2: This concept has been around for a few years , which is how we got the Yes in God's Backyard or Higbee label , which is sort of a play on Yimby for yes in my backyard , the movement of pro housing construction advocates. This essentially says that if you want to build housing development on land owned by a religious institution , that it is the easiest form of approval to get. It's called bi-rite. Zoning in it essentially doesn't require a whole cumbersome approval process. And again , this is a policy that was attempted repeatedly in the legislature and sort of ran aground largely because of opposition from organized labor. And this year it finally made it across the finish line. Gavin Newsom signed it. I think the the obstacle here was never really Gavin Newsom. It was more sort of getting these bills to his desk.

S1: And so do you think you know this ? Yes. In God's backyard.

S2: I don't think anyone who works in the housing policy world will tell you one of these bills is going to , by itself , fix California's housing crisis. I think it's more that the cumulative weight of them , whether it's dealing with speeding up , building on religious land , speeding up building in cities that are falling behind their goals , um , you know , making it easier to build , uh , accessory dwelling units. It's kind of a combined force of these laws , as well as other things that Sacramento has done to force local governments to get more serious about meeting their goals , that the hope is , will cumulatively make a big difference.

S1: And kind of like you touched on there. I mean , this was just one of a few bills that showed this kind of rise of NIMBYism policies , something I know you've covered quite a bit. What are some of the others.

S2: The other big one that you have to talk about here and that I think in a lot of ways it's fate was sort of linked with that. Yes. In God's backyard. Bill. Uh , a bill called SB 423 , which extended an earlier law that essentially said in cities and counties that are falling behind their state issued housing goals that you can build a lot faster. And so this is a policy that since it's been on the books folks credit with really helping to spur a lot of development , including in places like San Francisco , where it's notoriously hard to get stuff approved. State Senator Scott Wiener from San Francisco , who's been sort of the the head paragon of the movement , pursued this one. And again , this is one where there was a lot of organized labor pushback , also some organized labor support. That was really a split. And in the end , it did get across the finish line. I think everybody was looking at that as sort of the the big one from this past year.

S1: And there seems to be sort of like a push pull between the state , you know , instituting these new laws , but also localities trying to retain that power as far as housing go. I mean , isn't that part of what's going on with these , these housing struggles ? Absolutely.

S2: And I think you have seen the Newsom administration and the attorney general in various ways , whether it's filing lawsuits for noncompliance , whether it's making efforts to sort of link funding to what local governments are doing on housing , even just using that bully pulpit to call places out , you're really seeing the state in terms of officials like Governor Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta sort of wield whatever powers they have and at times ask the legislature for more powers to really force those city and county governments to do more. I think there are a lot of causes of the housing crisis. It's a complex issue , but there's a pretty broad consensus among Democratic officials who are really moving the agenda on this , that local intransigence is a huge culprit for this decades long slump in building. And so you really seen a lot of prominent officials willing to take on local governments here. And I think that's something that demonstrates another shift , which is that for many years that's been a very political , risky move. And in a lot of ways it still is. But I think there is a calculation that folks are making correctly that there's also now a lot of support for this , that , yes , you are going to be fighting with local governments , constituencies like homeowners associations. But at the same time , there's also a lot of support , including politically , for getting tougher and forcing people to to do more.

S1: And to me , the state has also changed the rules regarding ADUs , better known as granny flats. It's now easier to sell those separately.

S3: So before , if you had this Adu on your property , if you wanted to sell it , you also had to sell your your own primary residence or your , you know , the main house on the property. So this law now allows you to sell that out separately as a condo , you know , as long as you have permission from the homeowners association , etc.. But yeah , I think , you know , agreeing with what Jeremy said , this is part of this package over the last five years of these different ways that lawmakers have set the stage , including , you know , specifically for Adu developments over the past few years , we've seen laws that cap development fees , band public hearings and design reviews , and we've seen lawmakers ease the requirements around parking and landscaping and storage for ADUs. So I think in some ways , this has been in the works , you know , setting the stage for where we are now.

S1: And kind of like what Jeremy touched on earlier this Adu change. It does need local approval for it to go into effect.

S3: Yeah. Cities do need to opt in to the approach. And even if they do , property owners still have to get approval from their cities. Although one of the ways that the state , um , this law tries to address , you know , that that tug of war is um , cities are required to complete the review process within 60 days. So I think , you know , so far , just with ADUs in general , we've seen some cities really go along with it , including the city of San Diego. I think being one of the more enthusiastic participants in that the city has a bonus program where if someone agrees to construct one Adu and keep the rent affordable for for low income people , they're automatically allowed to build a second bonus unit , and then they can rent that out at whatever price they like. But at the same time , there are other cities that have found ways to sort of push back or obstruct those efforts.

S1: And Jeremy mentioned this earlier that there's a number of new laws related to workers rights and wages. Let's take a look at a few of those. Now , a new law in the book says employers in the state can't penalize employees for using cannabis outside of working hours.

S2: This law sort of expands a previous law which prohibited employers from doing certain types of drug screening , finding and penalizing employees if they find non-psychoactive cannabis residue in their system. That takes effect this year. And it has been fortified by another bill from last year that additionally prohibits employers asking about past cannabis use. And so , you know , as as usual , there were exemptions for things like federal background check , but certainly you have seen sort of incremental efforts to to chip away at different ways that current and past cannabis use can be used by people like employers to to discriminate against job seekers.

S1: And Samia , California's workers get more paid sick days in 2024 , but not as many as proponents had hoped.

S3: And , you know , last year they kind of met in between. And , uh , the law requires employers to give employees five days off now. Um , so , you know , part of that negotiation was pushback from industry groups like the California Chamber of Commerce and , you know , the Hospital association , the Grocers Association , who said that this , you know , um , the cost on businesses and just the labor impacts of like having people on that , you know , increasing the number of days off was difficult , so that the result of the negotiations was five days.

S1: And many workers also now qualify for leave as a result of reproductive loss. What are the details there , Samia. Yeah.

S3: Yeah. So this is separate from , you know , bereavement leave and family and medical leave , pregnancy disability leave. This new law requires all public employers and private employers with um five or more employees to give five days off for people who suffer from either failed adoption or failed surrogacy , a miscarriage , stillbirth , or , you know , unsuccessful , uh , assisted reproduction , which means procedures like artificial insemination. Um , and so those can be taken either by the person who , you know , suffers from those losses themselves or their spouse or domestic partner or , um , you know , just their partner who might have been a parent as a result of , of the pregnancy or procedure. I think there are a couple of requirements , like someone has to be at a job for at least 30 days before they can take that leave. But I think this is , you know , for a lot of these things have not been , you know , built into traditional leave policies. So I think it definitely addresses a need that that many people have struggled with.

S1: And Jeremy , another one that's been getting quite a bit of attention. The state's fast food workers will see a $20 an hour minimum wage starting this April.

S2: This was a huge fight. Uh , there was a law passed to create an industry regulating council that could boost wages. Fast food industry immediately went and qualified a ballot initiative to overturn it. And out of that came the deal that led to the wage that you're talking about that sort of dismantles that original regulator. But but guarantees a wage. And we did see over the holidays that one of these major fast food chains , Pizza Hut franchises , specifically announced plans to lay off delivery drivers in California , attributing it to this change. And so I think we're still going to see the effects of this play out. I think there's no doubt that plenty of fast food workers appreciate the higher wage at the same time. We certainly heard plenty of fast food employers talk about how onerous new regulations would be. And I think the bigger political picture here is that fast food workers and sort of the service industry more generally has been a huge sort of untapped source of labor organizing for unions who have hoped to organize these workers for , for many years with fairly limited success. And so the the end outcome of this round was , was winning that higher wage. But it certainly fits into that broader context.

S1: And Jeremy , another law it will be coming later this year in June , the minimum wage for health care workers that will increase to $23 an hour.

S2: So that was certainly part of it. But this was also a sort of bigger , multiyear fight with labor pushing for these higher wages for health care workers. Like I said , I do think the pandemic supplied some of the momentum. So did a lot of ballot initiatives that the industry was getting sick of fighting , and they were sort of looking for an off ramp from those fights. And and that's what this deal supplied.

S1: And Samia , speaking of health care , undocumented immigrants in California now have more access to insurance. Tell us about that new law. Sure.

S3: Sure. So the state has gradually provided access to medical to different age groups. This started back in 2015 , actually. Former governor Jerry Brown signed a law that allowed undocumented children to be eligible for state insurance. And then last year that was expanded to seniors. But starting January 1st , that application process opened up to undocumented immigrants who are between 26 years old and 49 years old. They are now eligible for Medi-Cal , and this is the final expansion of the program. It also makes California the only state to fund this comprehensive health care for undocumented immigrants , although , you know , it doesn't cover quite , you know , everyone because there's about half a million undocumented immigrants who still make too much money to qualify for Medi-Cal , but they also can't afford private insurance , so they're kind of stuck in between. And so that's something that I think we'll see advocates try to push for in the future. It's also not without opposition. We have seen already one lawmaker , Republican Assembly member bill , actually introduced a bill to revoke any funding in the budget for health care for undocumented Californians.

S1: And Jeremy. Another law changes conservatorship regulations in the state. This is something San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria has been a big advocate for. Remind us about that change.

S2: Certainly , to your point , I think the desire to change conservatorship laws , to make it easier to essentially compel people into these court appointed oversight relationships , has been building in a lot of places. You've seen in San Francisco as well , the mayor there , London Breed , in addition to San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria , say , look , the tools we have now are just not strong enough. And we need we need to find something more we can do here. And so Governor Newsom signed a bill that expands conservatorship laws , including for Californians dealing with severe substance abuse disorder and serious mental illness. And I think it's it's part of a larger push to think about how the state handles people who are unhoused , who are sort of the toughest cases. This is coming at the same time that the governor has pushed his care courts program to again address that population with a sort of court process and is additionally pushing a bond that's going to be on the ballot in March to fund more behavioral health treatment. And so these are all sort of different bites at this larger , very vexing issue of people who may be unable to care for themselves and end up on the streets.

S1: Coming up on roundtable , more on some of the state's new laws , plus a look into what we can expect from Sacramento in 2024.

S2: It is clear that there's going to be a lot of efforts to deal with retail crimes , property theft. There's a dedicated committee in the state assembly created by the new speaker to address this issue , and we've already seen a few bills introduced to deal with that.

S1: That's next on roundtable. You're listening to Kpbs roundtable. I'm Andrew Bracken. We're talking about some of the new state laws taking effect in 2024. My guests are Samia Kamal from Calmatters and POLITICO's Jeremy B white. Now , Samia , as of Monday , police need to tell you why they pulled you over. This was a law passed back in 2022 , taking effect in 2024. Tell us about the change. Yeah.

S3: Yeah. So you know officers in high crime areas , they commonly look for minor traffic violations. Like if you have a broken taillight or , you know , an object hanging from a rearview mirror as pretext to pull you over so that they can then search it for drugs or other contraband. Um , and that practice , you know , proponents of this law had said that it has a disproportionate impact on minorities. Um , some of the data behind that is , you know , black people account for about 13% of traffic stops in California in 2022 , and they're only 5% of the share of the state's population. So that's kind of the backdrop of this law. Um , officers will now be required to tell you , when they stop you why they are pulling you over. And , you know , the California State Sheriffs Association did push back on this law. And they said that traffic stops can be , um , dangerous for , uh , police officers and that they should be free to take action without first explaining their reasons. But I think this is one of , you know , several bills we've seen over the last few years that seeks to address some of the racial inequities that we see in the criminal justice system.

S1: And , Jeremy , in July , an 11% tax will be imposed on firearm and ammunition sales in the state.

S2: So the money is is flowing to a few different sources. But I think depending on who you ask , this bill is maybe more about creating a disincentive to acquiring more firearms rather than necessarily funding these programs. I think it's a mix , as with anything like this , like , say , a cigarette tax , where you're trying to both influence behavior and then use the funds for something. But , um , an example of a bill that despite California's or I should say , California Democrats , strong support for gun control , support for taxes is a different matter. This is something that was proposed repeatedly and never quite got the votes it needed , because it's a tax that requires a two thirds vote. But this year turned out to be the year.

S1: And some of these new laws impact California students and schools. Jeremy , can you tell us about a few of these ? Sure.

S2: Um , I think one of the more significant ones was a bill outlawing , uh , suspensions for what's called willful defiance when students are acting out in class , something that we had seen various bills in previous years to limit or cut back on this process. And this was the year that lawmakers really sort of did away with it.

S1: And with the hundreds of new laws , you know , we won't be able to get through all of them. I did want to get your thoughts on. Any of you think you'd like to highlight ? One that comes to mind to me is the new law that ends Bans on Cruising that was introduced by San Diego Assemblymember David Alvarez. So , I mean , we can start with you.

S3: Um , I think this was born out of several , you know , of these controversies that we did see in the last year and that we've seen over several years.


S2: Uh , it's actually not going to take full effect for a couple of years , but I think it's worth thinking about. Arguably the biggest climate law passed last year , which requires large corporations to talk about their carbon footprints and climate related risks and how they do business. It was a big fight. There was a ton of opposition from the corporate sector , but this one did get to Governor Newsom's desk , and he signed it , even as he said he would maybe like to see some follow up legislation that that limits the scope of it. So , again , not one that you are going to imminently see changing things. But certainly looking back on last year's legislative session , that was a biggie.

S1: And so that was last year. But now we just started a new legislative session that began Wednesday.

S2: I would say it is clear that there's going to be a lot of efforts to deal with retail crimes , property theft. There is a dedicated committee in the State Assembly created by the new speaker to address this issue , and we've already seen a few bills introduced to deal with that. And then yesterday , the same day that we saw protesters calling for a cease fire in Gaza shut down the assembly , the California Legislative Jewish Caucus also unveiled their plans to do a series of bills , including dealing with sort of campus climate and how students are taught about sort of anti-Semitism and Jews and that type of thing. And so , um , if yesterday's protests were any indication , I would think that that legislative fight could get pretty contentious.


S3: We've already seen some bills introduced , um , or at least intentions of bills to introduce how to how to tackle that. And I think that's going to be possibly another showdown. Um , similar to what we saw in terms of the state trying to crack down on social media regulation and its impacts on on kids especially. So we might see another , you know , more pushback from the tech industry on the state's attempts to crack down on that. And I think , you know , housing and homelessness will all continue to see more efforts to try and address those issues as well as climate , kind of the the ongoing issues that we deal with as Californians.

S1: And late last year , you know , we started to hear news of California's projected $68 billion deficit. Do you see that changing the focus of the legislature this year at all ? Definitely.

S3: You know , I think every lawmaker I've talked to so far , that is the the main lens through which they're looking at , you know , what bills are going to introduce. I don't you know , we've the state has dealt with budget deficits in the past. And that hasn't necessarily stopped lawmakers from introducing bills. Um , but we did see a lot more I think , or we saw a significant amount of vetoes by the governor , um , based on budget concerns , even , you know , last year. So I think that will definitely shape the year that's ahead. Yeah.

S2: Yeah. Just concurring with me. I don't think there's any way that it doesn't shape the year ahead. And one piece of that sort of circling back to a thing we discussed earlier that we're watching out for that law , uh , boosting wages for healthcare workers to $25 an hour. The governor was very clear when that bill was on its way to his desk , that he had serious concerns about the fiscal impact , and his office has signaled that they want to do some sort of follow up legislation to soften that impact. So what exactly that looks like ? We're still waiting for some details , but I think that battle over health care wages , which was a very sort of contentious and messy set of negotiations , is is not quite over.

S1: And another thing that the new year brings , it's 2024. It's an election year. Not only that , it's a presidential election year.

S2: For example , we've seen a proposed bill that would empower the Secretary of state to potentially remove candidates from the ballot if they do things like engage in insurrection , something that's likely not going to affect Donald Trump , because it's just not going to have taken effect in time for California's primary. But obviously , um , the former president struggles and the Colorado Supreme Court's decision to remove him from the ballot is something that reverberated in Sacramento. And then , uh , a separate race here , um , an Assembly member running to succeed former Speaker Kevin McCarthy , Vince Fong , after a sort of complicated saga around timing. Uh , Vince Fung has been allowed to run for that congressional seat , even though he had already filed to run for another Assembly term. And so there's going to be legislation essentially saying you can't do that. So a couple bills we're tracking that are directly linked to some political developments this campaign year.


S3: And even though I think many people who support a cease fire understand that the state has a limited role in what it can do , um , they're still looking to every level of lawmaker from , you know , city council to , um , state lawmakers to Congress members to , um , speak out whether that's , you know , calling for the release and , you know , continued efforts to the release of hostages or calling for a cease fire. So even though it's the the state doesn't have a direct role in that , I think we are going to continue to see this , um , issue come up. And , you know , I think we've seen as we've gotten closer to this election year , just. Ways that lawmakers across the political spectrum have become more willing to address crime. I think that's something that we might see more of in the coming year. I think there's been sort of a , you know , pendulum swinging of , you know , the conversations around racial justice and social justice and then like , these experiences that people are really having in their day to day lives with , with crime. So I think that's something that we can expect to hear more about in the coming year.

S2: Oh , man , we even talk about reparations. But whatever. That could be a whole other segment.

S1: Right ? A lot to cover and we'll hopefully have you on later in 2024 to catch up on some of this. I've been speaking with Samia Kamal , capital reporter from Cal Matters , and senior reporter Jeremy B white , who covers California politics for Politico. Thank you so much for joining us today.

S3: Thanks for having us.

S2: Great to be here anytime.

S1: When roundtable returns. California is losing population. What that may mean for the state's economic future.

S4: What's been really also stunning is that we've had proportionally more college educated and higher income folks who have left the state.

S1: That's coming up next on roundtable. Welcome back to Kpbs roundtable. I'm Andrew Bracken. California is facing a $68 billion budget deficit in the coming fiscal year. That's according to state budget analysts. After decades upon decades of growth and people moving to the Golden State. More Californians are now moving out of the state than are moving in. And in recent years , the types of people moving out of the state are changing , which may come with economic consequences for California's future. Don Lee covers economic issues for the Los Angeles Times. He recently published a piece digging into California's migration trends. It's headlined The Wealthiest Californians are Leaving the State. Why ? That's very bad news for the economy. Don , welcome to roundtable.

S4: Thanks for having me.


S4: And so that's a net loss of about 340,000 , which is , you know , double the numbers in the recent years prior to the pandemic. And so that's quite a big jump. And what's been really also stunning is that we've had proportionally more college educated and higher income folks who have left the state. And so those numbers have skewed much more in that direction in recent years.


S4: That's movement between states and California has been having negative domestic migration for the last 30 years. And sometimes we may not think of that because the population numbers , until just recently had grown every year , because we have a large number of people coming in migrating from foreign countries. And then of course , we've had , uh , birth and natural growth from that. But in more recent years , international migration has slowed sharply and the birth rate has declined significantly. And so that's really highlighted. Or put a , you know , a much sharper focus on the domestic net migration because it's brought the overall population down the last couple of years for the first time in in decades.


S4: And when you have people coming in , you bring consumption. And certainly for California it's brought economic dynamism and vitality. More start ups. You also can give a good boost to housing. And at a time when we're having a demographic crunch with baby boomers retiring and declining birth rate , as I mentioned , we have a less favorable labor supply that's available. And so if we're losing more people than are coming in , then that can also harm the economy. And then , of course , you know , as you mentioned at the outset , losing people and higher income people can cause problems for the state budget. And this past year , personal income tax revenue fell about 25% from the prior year. And so that accounted for a huge chunk of the surprisingly big deficit that we will have in the next fiscal year of about 68 billion.

S1: And you spoke to one small business owner who relocated from Oakland to Las Vegas. Can you tell us about her and her reasons for leaving the state ? Yeah.

S4: Her story , uh , I think is not uncommon. She was a lifelong resident of , uh , Northern California , grew up and went to college in the East Bay and in some years ago started her own business. And it seemed like the business had been growing. And she has several employees. And what she told me was that , um , you know , her business was operating in downtown Oakland , and she said she just didn't feel safe having her business there. And then she also talked about , uh , the taxes and support for small businesses and just. Over our business climate. And so she said that , you know , she and her husband , who works in , uh , in home building , that they moved to the Las Vegas area and , uh , you know , Nevada , as we all know , um , has attracted a lot of California residents. And among other things , it does not have a state personal income tax.

S1: And that seems like a theme the the tax free states. Can we talk a little bit about where Californians are going ? Texas is , you know , the top destination for Californians leaving the state.

S4: In the past , you had more Californians going to say Washington state , but that state has also gotten more expensive. And Washington State does not have a personal income tax either. And in more recent years , we've also seen more Californians going to Tennessee. Uh , and that's pretty far away. But one of the attractions there , besides its affordability , is that it also does not have a personal income tax. And so there is a pattern of that. And then , of course , Californians have been moving to Florida as well , older people who , uh , you know , don't want to see their IRAs and their fixed incomes taxed anymore than they need to. And , um , Florida doesn't have a state income tax either.


S4: So people who are working 100% remotely from home and where that's really had an impact is in the Bay area , but also throughout the state , because people who can work from home , by and large are in industries like technology or information , professional services , and they tend to have , um , higher educated and upper income people. And so the fact that we've been losing more upper income and college graduates to other states , I think that is a big factor in that. And secondarily , I've , you know , done some stories in the past where I've talked with people who have left California and migrated to other states. And I found that , you know , the pandemic caused a lot of rethink on the part of people in terms of their priorities and what they see as important. Um , and work life balance. And so some people wanted to go and be closer to their families. Older people who are close to retiring decided to retire earlier than they had planned. And so I think for all of these reasons , the pandemic has had a pretty big impact on the increase in outmigration.

S1: And on remote work. I mean , some large companies like Amazon , they seem to be starting to pull away from remote work , trying to bring their workers back into the office.

S4: Certainly if the fully remote work jobs , uh , decline , then it's going to make it harder for people to move out of state for that reason. And so it will probably , um , slow outmigration to some extent. But I think , you know , people who have , uh , already moved out , I don't think , um , you know , they're going to come back unless their companies insist that they come back or force them to come back. And for many of these people , their jobs , uh , I think , uh , are , you know , they're able to do them from home. And so I don't really see , uh , a return of workers because of remote work.

S1: And , you know , one fact of life in California is just the high cost of living. Is there an argument to be made here that maybe migration out of the state isn't necessarily a bad thing ? I mean , we hear all about , you know , high housing prices. We're not building enough housing in the state. A lot of us know about traffic , things like that.

S4: Right. And I think California has benefited enormously from. By being able to attract people to the state. It's always been a destination for young people and for people with dreams. And and so I think if California loses that appeal , there will be a cost to that. And sure , if you have slower growth and a weaker economy , you're going to have less traffic. I mean , during the recession , I remember in the 1990s , even and certainly in during the Great Recession , you have far less traffic in the , in the freeways , but that's not necessarily a good thing. And so I don't think that in itself , uh , is the answer to , you know , some of the long standing issues , whether it's related to affordable housing or traffic or , uh , climate. I mean , I think we have to tackle those things. You know , apart from , uh , just wanting to have fewer people come in and , uh , seeing , you know , the benefits of people moving out because they're being driven out.


S4: I mean , some saying , well , the story didn't mention that California charges a 1% , uh , additional tax , uh , for personal income , if you make over $1 million , you know , the top tax bracket is already 12.3%. And and another percentage point is added to help with mental health issues and spending. Uh , so I've had some readers comment about that and others said , well , you know , the number of people who are actually leaving , even though that seems like a large number is still a tiny fraction of California's population of 39 million. And so we're making too big of deal of , of this migration data. And I think that's true , that it is a small fraction of the population. But when you add them up year after year , they do then have a cumulative effect and have much bigger impacts.


S4: And I think we seem to be in for what they call a soft landing , right where we don't actually decline into recession , but it would be slower growth in between that and maybe some pullback in fully remote job postings and hiring and a slowdown in housing prices or the slowdown in growth. I think they could all potentially contribute to a slowdown in the net outmigration numbers that we've had , you know , which have been extraordinarily high , you know , coming out of the pandemic. So I think all the indications to me suggest that there's going to be some slowing in the numbers of people leaving.

S1: Don Lee reports on economic issues for the Los Angeles Times from Washington , DC. And Don , thanks so much for being here. Thanks.

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One new apartment building, and one under construction on Lindo Paseo, are an example of the increase in rental housing, aimed at San Diego State students.
Tom Fudge
One new apartment building, and one under construction on Lindo Paseo, are an example of the increase in rental housing, aimed at San Diego State students.

California lawmakers passed nearly 1,000 new laws in 2023, with many taking effect in 2024. Several new laws target California's cost of living crisis by easing rules for housing production and increasing wages for fast food and health care workers.

Then, California has been losing population in recent years, particularly higher income earners. What does it mean for the future of the golden state?


Sameea Kamal, reporter, CalMatters

Jeremy B. White, senior reporter, Politico

Don Lee, economics reporter, Los Angeles Times