Re "California's high living costs create high poverty" (Dan Walters, Capitol and California, Nov. 10): The dependably right-wing Dan Walters casts himself as the neutral arbiter between right and left, but his thumb remains firmly on the scale, tilting all rhetoric rightward.
Supposedly making the case that the "little guy" is persecuted by high taxes, Walters omits mentioning that low land taxes allow speculators to hold land off the market indefinitely, boosting the cost of housing.
Walters also attributes high housing costs to "high fees imposed by local governments," apparently forgetting that rezoning agricultural land for development, and handing the entire profit to the speculators who make 50 to 100 times the cost of the ag land is commonplace in California.
This profit - the "unearned increment" - surely contributes to the high cost of housing, and to the necessity for local governments to charge higher taxes. Conveniently, it does not appear as either taxes or spending on their budgets, though.
-- Mark Dempsey, Orangevale