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Will new laws help the housing crisis?

By in Press Enterprise on October 3, 2017

By The Editorial Board

At an affordable-housing project in San Francisco, with the city’s skyline as a backdrop, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a host of housing bills on Sept. 29 ostensibly aimed at tackling the state’s growing housing crisis.

“This is probably the biggest bill signing that I’ve ever seen because this deals with something so basic as shelter and how we live,” Gov. Brown told the gathering. “It is a big challenge. We have risen to it this year.”

But have they? Will these new laws help the state’s housing crisis? That’s our Question of the Week for readers.

Or, do you agree with Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox, who recently wrote, “California Democrats believe that increasing the cost to buy, sell and build on real estate will somehow miraculously drive down the costs.”

Among the most talked about bills were:

• Senate Bill 2, which imposes fees of up to $225 on real estate documents filed with county clerk recorders. It is expected to raise over $250 million annually to fund affordable-housing programs.

• Senate Bill 3 places a $4 billion housing bond on the November 2018 ballot. The bond would go toward funding affordable-housing programs, including the CalVet Home Loan Program.

• Senate Bill 35 creates a streamlined approval process for affordable housing that allows certain projects to bypass the normal public input and instead be approved through an administrative process known as “by-right.”

Do these bills, and the many others signed by the governor, solve the problem? Should government do more? Or is government the problem? Do you agree with free-marketeers who argue that what the housing market needs is less, not more, fees and regulations?

Should the Legislature tackle CEQA reform? Gov. Brown once called that “the Lord’s work.” It has long been used to stifle all manner of development.

Email your thoughts to letters@pe.com. Please include your full […]    

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