morfizm (morfizm) wrote,


Received an e-mail from Major Barry Chang, "RE: Solutions for Traffic Congestion in Assembly District 24" (perhaps he was sending it to every registered voter in that area?). He wants to build more roads, more BART lines and also require companies to raise taxes and pay extra $1K/year per employee to fund these "wonderful" projects.

I wrote him a reply:


Dear Major,

I am a regular citizen, living in Melno Park, who have received this proposal in e-mail. I work as software engineer.
I think your proposed “solution” is 100% backwards of what should truly be done.

The congestion problem roots from the fact that people live too far from work.
Why is it happening?
It is very clear to me that this is happening due to wrong incentives and regulations:
1. Homeowners are heavily incentivized vs renters. Therefore everyone wants a house even if they don’t need to. The only affordable housing for someone working in, say, Mountain View, is really far away (East Bay at minimum.)
2. There are stupid zoning regulations that actually prohibit colocation of residential areas and office areas.
3. There are other stupid regulations, such as limitations on number of levels in buildings, that cause people’s housing to spread over too large area.
4. Businesses not incentivized enough to open up offices close to where people live.

My solution (pretty simple, doesn’t require to build new roads and otherwise increase state spending):
1. Cancel all homeowner incentives at federal level (California and district 24 will benefit too, but everyone else would also benefit):
-- a. No more tax deductible mortgage interest.
-- b. No more tax deductible property tax.
-- c. No more bankruptcy protection for primary residence.
-- d. No more capital gain deductible for profit on equity increase when primary residence is sold.
-- e. Equal treatment for primary residence equity and other savings and investments for any purposes, including financial aid, college aid for children, etc.
-- f. Any other incentive that I didn’t mention, should be eliminated as well.
2. Remove restrictions on zoning.
3. Remove all restrictions on height of the buildings.
4. Consider adding incentives (from the huge money that state has saved on p.1) to businesses, such as tax breaks, if they open offices in less “sexy” areas, such as East Bay, Oakland, Daly City, etc.

Sign it in law, sit back and watch the results. No need to construct new roads. Free market forces and natural desire of people to live closer to work will settle things out automatically, and we’ll be all set for another 20 years.

Tags: 1, in english, money, politics, usa

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