Saturday, June 11, 2011

How's My Beloved State of California Doing?

We're #48 on the Mercatus Center's State Freedom Rankings:

Executive Summary

This study comprehensively ranks the American states on their public policies that affect individual freedoms in the economic, social, and personal spheres. It updates, expands, and improves upon our inaugural 2009 Freedom in the 50 States study. For this new edition, we have added more policy variables (such as bans on trans fats and the audio recording of police, Massachusetts’s individual health-insurance mandate, and mandated family leave), improved existing measures (such as those for fiscal policies, workers’ compensation regulations, and asset-forfeiture rules), and developed specific policy prescriptions for each of the 50 states based on our data and a survey of state policy experts. With a consistent time series, we are also able to discover for the first time which states have improved and worsened in regard to freedom recently.
Here's California's information in particular:
Contrary to popular perception, California not only taxes and regulates its economy more than most other states, it also aggressively interferes in the personal lives of its citizens. California simply needs to cut government spending. The budgetary categories most out of line with the rest of the country are administration, social services, environment and housing, and “other.” Labor laws are extremely strict, of course; for instance, California is one of only five states to mandate short-term disability insurance. Health-insurance coverage mandates add about 49 percent to the cost of premiums in the state. Eminent-domain reform has been cosmetic, and the state’s liability system almost reaches the abysmal quality of the Deep South’s. On personal freedoms, California does well on same-sex partnerships and marijuana, but it also has the most restrictive gun laws in the country, a highly restrictive policy regime for motorists, and smoking bans. The state’s civil asset-forfeiture regime is arguably the best in the country, apart from North Carolina’s, which has only criminal forfeiture.
And here's part of the reason this is so--our legislature is nuts. A few years ago California voters approved a Citizens Redistricting Commission to redraw legislative district boundaries in an attempt to break the chokehold incumbents have on their seats. Let's see the results of that first effort:
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund said the maps do not provide a fair opportunity to increase the number of legislative and congressional seats held by members of the state's fastest-growing minority.

Steven Ochoa, MALDEF's national redistricting coordinator, said more analysis is needed to determine whether the commissioners' plan would illegally dilute the political power of Latinos. "I think this plan could put them at risk, though," he said.

Eugene Lee, of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, characterized the new maps as a mixed bag.

State Sen. Curren Price, an Inglewood Democrat who chairs the Legislative Black Caucus, gave the maps a thumbs-up, saying they "maintained the integrity of the districts currently represented by African Americans in the state Legislature."

Can you say, Balkanized? I knew you could.

1 comment:

MikeAT said...

Kinda reminds me of Reagan's statement of his worst decision as governor. He signed off on full time state legislators. They have idle hands...the devil's workshop.