09/24/2021

If California Had City Income Taxes, Would More Homes Get Built?

If California is serious about fixing its housing challenges, it should wean its cities off the sales tax gravy train.

Until local municipalities are properly motivated to build, not much will change. And the only persuasion that makes cities jump is cash.

Currently, cities are addicted to boosting sales tax collection because it’s about the only cash flow that can be enhanced with development powers. So, your city council often acts more like a mall developer than a civic group building a healthy community.

Debating how much more housing California needs won’t cure a thing. Suing growth-resistant cities only makes lawyers happy. Pontificating about “free market” solutions is for academia. And tweaking environmental rules to promote housing construction is a wasted effort when local planning agencies are essentially paid to build more retail space.

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