There is no debate or question that we have a serious housing affordability crisis in this state, and we didn’t get here overnight. Each year, we need to build roughly 180,000 homes just to keep up with population growth, and over the last decade we have fallen short by at least 1,000,000. At the core of our exploding housing affordability crisis is basic economics: we have spiking demand coupled with stagnating supply, this leads to skyrocketing housing prices. This is a critical issue for small businesses who are seeing their workforce driven out of this state due to prohibitively high housing costs.
Unfortunately, Senate Bill 2 (Atkins), Senate Bill 3 (Beall), and Senate Bill 35 (Weiner) do nothing to address these fundamental economic realities, but instead raise more taxes on struggling small businesses and working families, put California further into debt, and drastically raise labor costs to build a home.
The bad news is: there’s very little housing in this housing package.
The new funding will produce only a tiny fraction of the affordable housing Californians need. And given the economic and regulatory pressures on housing, such housing won’t be produced quickly or cheaply.
The bills leave in place the tax, environmental, and regulatory regimes that add so much to the expense and difficulty of building housing in the state. And in some places, legislators have offered goodies, in the form of wage and other protections to labor interests to get their buy-in. Such incentives may add to the cost of housing, when the state desperately needs to make housing cheaper. The way that the building trades, in particular, have leveraged this crisis would be shameful, if organized labor in this state were still capable of shame.
California lawmakers introduced legislation Friday to bypass a key state environmental law that would dramatically ease the construction of rail, bus and other transit projects connected to Los Angeles’ bid to host the Olympic Games in 2028. Under the bill, any public transportation effort related to the city’s Olympics bid would be exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act, the state’s primary environmental law governing development. The law, known as CEQA, requires developers to disclose and minimize a project’s impact on the environment, often a time-consuming and costly process that involves litigation. The measure, Senate Bill 789, also provides major CEQA relief to help the construction of an NBA arena for the Los Angeles Clippers in nearby Inglewood.
The pace of hiring slowed in August, while the U.S. unemployment rate edged up.
Nonfarm payrolls rose by a seasonally adjusted 156,000 in August from the prior month, the Labor Department said. The unemployment rate rose to 4.4% from 4.3%, though the level remains historically low. Wages maintained a modest growth rate.
Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected 179,000 new jobs and a 4.3% unemployment rate last month.
California safety regulators for the first time publicly posted safety ratings for the hundreds of dams under state jurisdiction on Friday, bowing to public pressure for more transparency after the failure of the Oroville Dam spillway in Feburary. Eight percent of dams under jurisdiction of the Division of Safety of Dams have deficiencies that keep them from being rated satisfactory, which is state’s the highest rating. Eleven of 229 dams in Los Angeles and five surrounding counties show up on the state’s list with a rating of fair or poor.