Budget Battle

California Governor Jerry Brown recently released the 2016-2017 budget revision, which did not include an allocation from the state surplus for affordable housing purposes.  While the budget proposal refers to several initiatives that could ease the affordable housing crisis, they are not part of the budget allocation that would increase the amount of money available to fund housing. 

The state does not control land use decisions, but it can help to subsidize the development of affordable units. About 3 percent of homes and 11 percent of rental units are affordable through legally binding restrictions, and about two-thirds of the affordable units get state funding through tax credits or subsidies from state departments. While demand for low-income housing has increased, lengthy local land use and review processes have provided less than half of the affordable housing needed.

Thus, the state’s fiscal investment in housing must be maximized to speed up construction while lowering costs and avoiding delays. The state needs to target new and existing housing resources to support state policies and objectives.

June 15 is the deadline for the state legislature to pass the budget bill. We believe that state assembly members must invest $1.3 billion of the state’s budget surplus for affordable housing.  Let’s reach them by mail, e-mail, social media and in person. California’s future depends on it.

Written by Tara Matthews, a Principal at RSG