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Rent control, property taxes and taller apartment buildings: California considers major housing bills in 2018

By in Press Enterprise on January 4, 2018

By Katy Murphy

The state’s housing crisis is back on the agenda as California lawmakers return to work after a months-long recess.

Proposals floated on the first week of the year would bring major changes to laws governing property taxes, rent control, and local zoning rules. Senate Democrats are also proposing a work-around for the recent GOP tax overhaul, which set a $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions.

“Last year we passed a historic housing package, but it was just the beginning,” said Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco. “Given that it took decades to create the housing crisis that we’re in, it’s going to take years of policy making and housing creation to get us out.”

This year’s debates come as the crushing cost of housing makes living in California ever less affordable — and just months after Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a package of 15 hard-fought housing bills to raise money for affordable housing and to force local governments to more quickly approve housing developments.

Even in that context, the bills promise to raise plenty of controversy. Santa Monica Assemblyman Richard Bloom’s proposal to repeal a 23-year-old law that blocks cities from adopting certain rent control rules faced such fierce landlord opposition last year that it didn’t even get a hearing. And some cities will be sure to fight a new bill from Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, that would require local governments to allow taller apartment buildings near transit hubs.

“This is a hard bill, it’s an important bill, and the most impactful bills are often the hardest,” Wiener said about his zoning proposal.

Here is a look at some of the 2018 housing legislation so far:

Rent control fight: Should California repeal a landmark 1995 law that keeps local rent control ordinances in check? The law, known as Costa Hawkins, […]    

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