For years, The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board has been banging the drum for a more urgent approach to the state’s housing crisis. One in five Californians lives in poverty, largely because of sky-high housing costs created by a shortage of housing units, and millions more residents often struggle to get by after paying the rent.
The size of the problem is so immense that some recommend an “all of the above” strategy on housing — not just adopting reforms that make it easier to build housing but pouring money into “affordable housing” programs. This led the Legislature to put Proposition 1 on the ballot. It would authorize $4 billion in state general obligation bonds for housing-related programs and housing loans for veterans.
But “affordable housing” programs help only the relatively few lucky families that win lotteries allowing them to use the units. These programs do more to create an impression of government responding to housing problems than to actually addressing these problems. In an Aug. 1 op-ed written for The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Opinion section, Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association argued persuasively that instead of proposing $4 billion more in bond debt — which costs about $7 billion to pay off — it would have been better for the Legislature to change the environmental rules that are used to force developers to pay “prevailing wages” in construction and that dampen development. Such wages inflate the cost of affordable housing units to more than $300,000 in California, double what is seen in other states. Coupal is right.
California must adopt solutions, not nostrums. Vote no on Proposition 1.
Facebook: San Diego Union-Tribune Ideas & Opinion