State Legislative Update: June 13, 2017

State Legislative Update: June 13, 2017

Though California Leadership began the 2017-18 session with strong language proclaiming that addressing the state’s housing affordability crisis and making major new investments in affordable housing programs were top priorities, we are disappointed to report that no new funding was included in the state budget and the major affordable housing funding bills, SB 2 (Atkins), Building Homes and Jobs Act to create an ongoing and dedicated source, and AB 71 (Chiu), to increase the amount of funding for state low-income housing tax credits and paid for by eliminating the mortgage interest deduction for vacation homes, have become bogged down in their respective houses of origin.

SB 2 is the only bill in the State Senate’s “California Rebuild” infrastructure funding package that has yet to be taken up for a vote on the Senate floor and Senate President pro Tem, Kevin de Leon, is now promising a vote on the bill at some later date during the session. In addition, several Democratic Assemblymembers are refusing to vote for AB 71 due to aggressive opposition from the California Association of Realtors. Both SB 2 and AB 71 require 2/3rds majority votes.

Last week, the Legislature’s Budget Conference Committee wrapped up its work. Unfortunately, the committee removed the Assembly’s $400 million proposal for affordable housing funding. The budget must be approved by this Thursday and, once again, will contain no new funding for housing.

While SB 3 (Beall), the Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018, was approved by the Senate with Republican votes, the ultimate fate of the legislation is uncertain. SB 3 would place a $3 billion affordable housing bond on the November 2018 statewide ballot. Though it is estimated the bond would require less than $200 million in annual debt service payments out of a general fund budget of $125 billion, it is unclear whether the Governor would sign the bill. However, SB 3 passed the Senate with enough bipartisan votes to override a gubernatorial veto if Legislative leadership chose to use this option.

Given the urgency of need and the swell of support from voters, NPH and other housing advocates urge all State Leaders to support these three important funding bills. 

 

Weigh in: www.bringcahome.org/take-action

 

Fortunately, other top NPH legislative priorities continue to move through the legislative process:

  • Last week, AB 1505 (Bloom, et. al.), the “Palmer Fix” for inclusive neighborhoods, was approved by the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee and is on the Senate floor awaiting a vote.
  • AB 1521 (Bloom), legislation to strengthen the state’s existing Affordable Housing Preservation Law, was approved by the Assembly and is now in the Senate awaiting referral.
  • AB 1598 (Mullin), legislation to allow local jurisdictions to issue affordable housing bonds utilizing tax-increment financing, was approved by the Assembly and is now in the Senate awaiting referral.
  • AB 1193 (Gloria), a bill to clarify the application of the welfare exemption for units with over-income tenants, was approved by the Assembly and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance.
  • Earlier this month, SB 35 (Wiener), the prominent housing approvals streamlining bill, was approved by the Senate with 25 “aye” votes on floor. The bill is now in the Assembly and is considered to be the streamlining legislation required by Governor Brown in order for him to agree to provide affordable housing funding. Furthermore, the Legislature considers new affordable funding to be an essential part of any streamlining agreement with Brown.

This year, the State Legislature’s Summer Recess will take place from July 21 to August 21.

 

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Alina Harway