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California Legislature

Billions in new funding for low-income housing passes the California Legislature

Senate Bill 2 from Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) would add a $75 fee to real estate transactions, such as mortgage refinances, to fund state housing subsidies. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
Senate Bill 2 from Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) would add a $75 fee to real estate transactions, such as mortgage refinances, to fund state housing subsidies. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

State legislators gave final approval to a package of major legislation aimed at addressing the state's housing affordability problems.

On Friday afternoon the state Senate passed Senate Bills 2, 3 and 35 — legislation Gov. Jerry Brown has said he will sign.

SB 2, a $75 fee on mortgage refinances and other real estate transactions except for home and commercial property sales, is expected to raise $250 million a year to help finance low-income developments.

SB 3 will put a $4-billion bond on the November 2018 ballot, with $3 billion to subsidize the construction of low-income housing and the remaining $1 billion for home loans for veterans.

SB 35 will ease local regulations for home building in an effort to spur construction, adding to overall supply.

The Assembly passed all three bills Thursday night after a tense vote on SB 2, which needed a two-thirds supermajority to pass. In the Senate on Friday, all 27 Democrats voted yes on SB 2, providing the exact amount of votes needed.

Republicans opposed to the measure argued that the state should not be spending more to subsidize housing.

"I think it’s still an ill-founded concept that government provides all the answers and is the best arbiter of providing low-income housing," said Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber).

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