California lawmakers to tackle housing package

by Francis Monfort22 Aug 2017
Legislators in California are set to vote on a package of bills that aim to tackle the state’s housing problems that are causing increasing prices and a high rate of homelessness, the Associated Press reported.

Gov. Jerry Brown and leaders of Democratic lawmakers have promised to work on a set of bills including regulatory reforms and low-income housing funding in their finals weeks of work in the year. With more than a dozen bills on the table, lawmakers have until Sept. 15 to pass legislation before they leave for another recess.

"We need to take up this housing package as soon as we can," said Assemblyman David Chiu (D), who chairs the housing committee. "The fact that the governor, our speaker, and the Senate president have committed to a comprehensive housing package is indicative of how committed we are to getting this done this year."

The final legislative package will include a bond, continuous funding for affordable housing, regulatory reform, and tax credits.

The housing bond under consideration would raise $3 billion in funding for affordable housing, which would have to be paid back with interest over time. The bond would need to be approved by voters in 2018.

Under SB2, the funding scheme proposed by state Sen. Toni Atkins, real estate transaction documents such as deeds and notices would be charged a $75 fee, with a $225 cap per transaction. The expected annual revenue of $200 million to $300 million from the scheme will be used for affordable housing projects. Although documents related to property sales transactions would be exempted, mortgage refinances are covered by the bill.

Other bills in the package under consideration include a bill by San Francisco Sen. Scott Wiener (D) that eliminates certain local development restrictions for communities that lag on their housing goals, tax credits related to affordable housing, and schemes that would encourage communities to comply with current laws on housing production planning.

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