Editorial: Californians say ‘yes’ to housing measures. Mostly.
I feel like I’ve been asked this question a thousand times before, but this time around, while the “yeses” and “noes” (no to affordable housing measures and yes to tax measures) keep arriving and arriving, I’ve got to keep asking: Is this a fair fight?
I don’t think so.
When we were in Washington, D.C., last Monday, one of our local congressional members said, “I’m here to say that this is probably the worst time to pass housing legislation — the housing market is at a very low point right now.” But it isn’t. In fact, it’s just a few months from what I hope is the start of a new housing boom, and in Washington, many analysts anticipate that demand for construction of new housing will pick up.
In my view, the housing crisis in my state could be solved by more housing, not less, but that’s not exactly how California’s housing industry views it. They want more of the same old problems – more regulatory hurdles and requirements – and less of a chance to make money by developing housing.
In the last two years, California has passed three major housing measures, and while every measure is subject to scrutiny, there’s no doubt that they represent the best chance we’ve had to solve our housing problem. These measures make it easier for developers to build more housing, give builders tax incentives to build housing, and create programs for low-income families to buy homes for their children and their families (such as a program, later this year, that will help parents buy a home out of state). These measures will go a long way to help the millions of students who cannot afford to buy a home, and provide incentives for developers to build new housing.
We can certainly debate whether or not these programs go too far in creating new requirements, but it’s clear that they are far better than the status quo.
If the programs succeed, I