Dan Walters: A cautious budget with a bold housing plan

While Newsom stressed the budget’s finances, it’s also a policy document whose most important segment deals with the state’s most pressing issue, a chronic and growing shortage of housing that has driven costs sky-high, discouraged private sector investment and caused the state to have the nation’s highest level of poverty.

Brown was only tangentially interested in housing, but Newsom is fully embracing the issue and is pledging vigorous, even coercive, action to deal with it, pointing out that since 2007, the state has built only 40 percent of the housing it needs.

While committing more money to low-income housing, Newsom also outlined a new response to the not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) attitudes in many communities toward more construction.

He would replace the state’s toothless local housing quotas with regional quotas and penalties for not meeting them.

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