California Lawmakers Hopefully Will Help Housing Shortage

Housing Shortage

Watch for a vote on a package of bills that will mean billions of dollars for affordable low-income housing projects. The bills will also streamline the construction approval process by eliminating some troublesome planning and environmental procedures. One problem is Proposition 13, which encourages the state's communities to approve commercial development instead of residential because residential development does not bring in local tax revenue.

Governor Jerry Brown, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon have agreed to negotiations on these bills and acknowledge how important it is to alleviate the “catastrophe” and “crisis” that is facing hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who have to sleep in their cars and under bridges because they cannot afford rent.

Wednesday, August 30, at the Capitol, prior to meeting with the lawmakers, mayors who were representing the state’s 11 largest cities advised reporters that the state is not providing sufficient money to subsidize desperately needed affordable housing for low-income citizens and mentioned severalof the state regulations that are impeding the crucial housing development.

Requiring a two-thirds majority vote each for approval are bills SB2 and SB3. SB 2 would impose a fee of as high as $225 on real estate transactions in order to generate an expected $258 million a year that would fight homelessness and provide housing for the poorer people. SB 3 would place a $4 billion bond on the November 2018 ballot that would aid military veterans in buying homes.

SB 35 would give developers a way to bypass some local government red tape, and that would speed up construction of the needed housing projects. However, drawing scrutiny is a labor-backed provision that would require that construction workers be paid a prevailing wage.