Table of Contents
Modern day California is going through transformations and facing uncertainty. The state has several persistent challenges that political leaders are yet to tackle and solve. The state needs informed and focused leaders who will be ready critically analyze the challenges and provide lasting solutions. A close look at these problems reveals a universal theme of unsustainability. California is majorly unsustainable and to correct its unsustainable course, the state needs leaders and citizens who have the will to deal budget realities. The cycle of postponement, neglect and ignorance must be ended. Unless the cycle is ended, the costly issues will be left to the future generations in to inherit.
The biggest threats facing my generation in California
High housing costs
The cost of housing in California is quite high compared to other states. High rent prices has made San Francisco more and more unaffordable for majority of its long time tenants and low wages employees. Income disparity in San Francisco is very high making it unmanageable to offer affordable housing to residents. In order to resolve this problem, the state, local and federal governments initiate programs to construct new housing through offering direct monetary aid. Additionally, governments should also ensure existing housing are more affordable through making paying housing vouchers to landlords on behalf of the low income renters for a part of a monthly cost of a rental unit.
Public schools in San Francisco are highly segregated. Public schools have moved away from a pupil assignment scheme that attempts to ensure schools are racially mixed toward a system that permits parents to select the schools they can send their children. Nevertheless, in a liberal city where people value diversity, parents majorly select schools that that children that look their own children, which has led to a third of elementary schools in the district becoming racially segregated.
Regardless of improved consumer spending and job numbers, the livelihood of poor children has not improved. One in every five kids lives in poverty, which is mostly felt by kids of color. The lot of children living in poverty slightly improved from 2013 to 2014 in 24 states that the progress has stagnated in California. Approximately 90, 000 kids, 10% of children in California stay categorized as living under extreme poverty. Students in Cleveland are almost completely poor and do not qualify reduced price or free lunch, learning English and Latino. Majority of their parents are uneducated and thus are jobless and not able to contribute enough money for their children education. The problem of racial segregation can be solved through an education reform that will offer every kid an opportunity to learn and prosper and work toward quality education through good teachers, diverse classes and adequate resources available to every community in California.
Higher tax rate
Some states get a bigger return of federal income tax contributions compared to other states. The degree to which the typical tax burden of America differs based upon her or his state of residence symbolizes an important point of segregation amid state economies. California is less dependent on federal funding and thus residents are taxed at a higher rate. This problem can be solved through enactment of a bill that will ensure all states receive the same amount of federal funding irrespective of the tax paid by residents.
In 2009, only 14.4% of California dwellers aged 18 years and below were amongst the uninsured with those aged between 19 and 25 the rate was 19.7% and the rate those aged between 26 and 44 was 41.6%. Whilst the effects of ACA are still taking shape, the healthcare system of California is faced with several operational and financial setbacks.
Since 1991, when the costs of health were 2,700 dollars per individual, healthcare expenses have increased by almost 6 percent yearly, outpacing inflation as well as the gross domestic product of the state. This challenge can be overcome through reducing costs of healthcare via improved quality of care such as minimization of chronic diseases reduced rates of unavoidable hospitalizations and improved service provisions intended to reduce costs and improve health.
Higher crime rates and high state spending on prisons
The amount of money the Golden State spends on prisons to be higher than that it uses on higher education. Since 1980, government spending on higher education has reduced by 13% in inflation adjusted dollars, whilst spending on prisons and correlated programs in California has rose by 436%.
Since 1971, the figure of prisoners in California has increased over 500 percent with the figure of department of corrections and rehabilitation ballooning over 800 percent. The building of facilities for accommodation of new convicts did not succeed in keeping pacing with prison populace expansion, leading severe overcrowding in prisons. The state government can reduce costs on prisons through giving more lenient sentences especially to non-violent, non-sexual and non-serious crimes.
Outdated infrastructure and unreliable water supply
The Sacramento- San Joaquin Delta which acted as the big hydraulic tie amid the Southern and Northern California since 1950s is at the verge of drying up. The Delta is a significant ecosystem and a vital like in water supply system of California. The levees defining the water channels of the region are aging and could be ruptured by rising sea levels or earthquakes. 97% of California has been experiencing drought for nearly four years leading to death of millions of trees and lack of sufficient water for farming.
The current drought conditions show the weakness in water supply management policies of the state. California hasn’t done much to expand its storage facilities for surface water in latest decades. The backbone of water system of California, the state water project and central valley project have not made considerable investments on infrastructure since 1970s. The aging water infrastructure isn’t adequate to meet the demand of the current 38 million California residents. This challenge can be solved through construction and maintenance of more water population and sustain adequate reservoir space for control of winter flood water.
California faces several major challenges all rooted in levels of inadequacy, continued inaction and unsustainably. If not resolved, these problems will worsen and have harmful effects on future generations. The golden state will see its budget more and more dominated by soaring healthcare costs and prison costs. State infrastructures and resources will increasingly become strained by an aging and growing population. California state policymakers and citizens will need to make decisions that will properly shape future infrastructure, future budget and quality of lives of future generations.
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- O’Connor, Lydia. (Feb o4, 2015). America’s Most Expensive City Just Got Even More Expensive.
- Knight, H. (2014). San Francisco gives parents a say in where their children go to school — and that is leading to less diversity.
- Kiernan, J. (Mar 21, 2017). 2017’s States Most & Least Federally Dependent States.
- Smith, K. (Jul 31, 2013). California baby boomers hardest hit by ‘Great Recession’, study shows.
- Sankin, A. (Sep o8, 2012). California Spending More On Prisons Than Colleges, Report Says.
- Madrigal, A. (Feb 24, 2014). American Aqueduct: California Water Saga.
- Garisto, D., & Moon, J. (Dec 11, 2015). California drought threatens trees and agriculture, Columbia researchers say.
- Fernandes, D. (Sep 24, 2015). Report: Economy improves, but not for California’s poor kids.
- Tatum, A., Carter, A., Ravi, M., & Kaldani, D. (June 11, 2014). Unsustainable California: The Top 10 Issues Facing California.