Just like college students cramming for finals, our elected state representatives were up until the wee hours the last couple nights of California’s 2017 legislative session, arm twisting their colleagues to pass legislation that could only be supported by those who had been broken by exhaustion and caffeine overloads.
Two of those were Senate Bill 2 and Senate Bill 35, deceptively packaged and sold as measures to bring affordability to California’s highest-in-the-nation rents and mortgages.
Before you start thinking about escaping from your $3,000 per month, 600 square-foot studio apartment, we should consider what exactly these measures allegedly do to alleviate the economic plight of millions of Californians. Unfortunately, for the 56 percent of Californians who, according to a recent UC Berkeley Institute of Government Affairs survey, said they were considering moving to escape the outrageous cost of housing, the Legislature’s fix is a cruel joke.
Our legislators did what they usually do — after regulations and taxes drive up the cost of a necessary item (in this case, housing) they pass bills creating subsidies for favored groups and then hand out benefits to campaign contributors that drive up costs even more. True to form, while the headlines discuss new “affordable housing credits and subsidies,” SB2 by Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, creates a new $225 fee on real estate transactions. As if that wasn’t enough to make housing more expensive, buried in SB35 by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, is a new requirement that non-government employees on housing projects be paid a prevailing wage, which adds dramatic increases to building costs.
To clarify, California Democrats believe that increasing the cost to buy, sell and build on real estate will somehow miraculously drive down the costs. Only someone under duress could buy into this logic.
SB2 is projected to collect $1.2 billion in the next five years, but where will that money go? Fifty…