Last month, after having secured the supermajority needed to extend California’s cap-and-trade program to 2030, Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic leaders stated that they wanted to reach a deal to address the state’s housing crisis. The Legislature went on a month-long summer recess without outlining a potential legislative package to deal with the problem, after Democrats said for weeks that they hoped to be further along by the break. The greatest issue with finding a solution for the housing crisis is reaching a deal on an annual source of funding for affordable housing. According to liberal Democrats, when Gov. Brown dissolved redevelopment agencies in 2011, cities and counties across the state lost roughly $1 billion a year that helped them build affordable housing. Ray Pearl, executive director of the California Housing Consortium, states:
You can’t build without funding. Every day the Legislature doesn’t act, this catastrophe gets worse.
Senate Bill 2 from state Senator Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) would replace some of the funding from the dissolved redevelopment agencies by levying a new $75 to $225 fee on real estate transactions, generating an estimated $225 million per year, but it would require a two-thirds vote. Senate Bill 3 from state Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose) would put a $3 billion general obligation bond for housing before voters next year. Senate Bill 35 from state Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) would streamline the approvals process for new construction. Assembly Bill 71 from Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) would have created an ongoing funding source by eliminating the mortgage interest deduction for second homes, but it later stalled in the Assembly. It appears that regardless of whichever solution is used to solve the housing crisis; Californians may end up paying more to build more affordable housing.