Bills to Address California’s Housing Crisis

California’s housing crisis is a hot topic for both residents and lawmakers — and for good reason, too.

Earlier this year, the California Department of Housing and Community Development published a report that uncovered a pretty bleak future for the state’s housing. According to the report, about 1.8 million new homes need to be built between 2015 and 2025 to meet the state’s projected population growth.

The problem, however, is that the state has only averaged less than 80,000 new homes built annually. For comparison’s sake, from 1955 to 1989, the state averaged 200,000 homes built annually, the report showed.

There’s also the major issue of California’s homelessness, homeownership rate (lowest since the ’40s) and the high price of already existing homes that many in the state can’t afford.

In attempts to help with this issue, state lawmakers have introduced over 120 new bills that will finance low-income housing, address developmental rules and give tax breaks to home renters and buyers.

Here are just a few of the bills:

Financing low-income housing

  • Assembly Bill 71: Introduced by Assemblymember David Chiu (D–San Francisco), AB 71 would eliminate the mortgage interest deduction on second homes, increase the state Low-Income Housing Program (LIHTC) by $300 million and make various changes to the LIHTC.
  • Senate Bill 2: Senator Toni Atkins (D–San Diego) introduced SB 2, a bill that could raise between $230 million and $260 million annually by imposing a $75 fee for real estate transactions.
  • Senate Bill 3: Senator Jim Beall’s (D–San Jose) bill would create a $3 billion bond for low-income housing.
  • Assembly Constitutional Amendment 4: Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D–Winters) introduced ACA4, which would make it easier for city and county governments to raise taxes to fund low-income housing. The measure, which would go on the 2018 ballot, would also make it so a 55 percent vote instead of two-thirds vote to pass similar measures.

Zoning and developmental stuff

  • Senate Bill 35: This bill, introduced by Sen. Scott Wiener (D–San Francisco), would make cities streamline the approval process for building new housing.
  • Assembly Bill 72: Assemblymember Miguel Santiago’s (D–Los Angeles) AB72 would allow the state Attorney General to enforce state housing laws.
  • Assembly Bill 678: AB 678, introduced by Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra (D–Pacoima), makes the Housing Accountability Act easier to enforce.
  • Senate Bill 167: Sen. Nancy Skinner (D–Berkeley) introduced SB 167, which would add money to enforce a state law that prohibits cities from denying low-income housing projects.
  • Assembly Bill 352: Tiny homes and apartments are a thing now, and Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D–Los Angeles) wants to let that continue. AB 352 would prohibit cities from stopping tiny homes or apartments from being built.
  • Senate Bill 540: Sen. Richard Roth’s (D–Riverside) SB 540 would allow cities to borrow money from state to plan neighborhoods are areas for affordable housing.

Tax breaks for renters and buyers

  • Assembly Bill 181: Assemblymember Tom Lackey (R–Palmdale) introduced this bill which would double the state tax credit for low- and middle-class to $240 for married couples and $120 for single filers.
  • Assembly Bill 53: Another tax break-related bill is Assemblymember Marc Steinorth’s (R–Rancho Cucamonga). AB 53 would allow couples to save up to $20,000 tax free and individuals up to $10,000 for the purchase of a permanent home.

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