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Will a tax increase make California’s housing more affordable?

SACRAMENTO, CA --State lawmakers are in the midst of trying to solve California’s ongoing housing affordability crisis.

According to the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, California has had historically higher rent and home prices than the rest of the nation, but the gap is widening at a worrying rate.

In some areas of Los Angeles, renting a one-bedroom apartment can cost up to $2,000 per month. According to the Associate Press, over 1.5 million Californians lack access to affordable housing, and a recent report from the Public Policy Institute shows 31 percent of homeowners and 46 percent of renters spend 35 percent of their incomes on housing.

Senate Democrats say they can solve the housing crisis by increasing taxes.

Senate Bill 2, also known as the Building Homes and Jobs Act, seeks to raise more than $200 million per year to fund affordable housing development. Proponents of SB 2 say the bill will create more than 20,000 new and rehabilitated homes while generating roughly 57,000 jobs, by raising fees on housing documents such as deeds and notices.

The bill recently passed the Senate 27-12 along partisan lines, and will now be reviewed by the Assembly.

However, Sen. Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) didn’t think raising taxes on homeowners or people looking to get into the housing market would solve the affordable housing problem. He says the proposed tax increase puts an unfair burden on one segment of society.

“The costs of fighting homelessness should be born across all Californians, not on the backs of homeowners in foreclosure proceedings, refinancing their home, or mothers trying to collect child support,” said Anderson.

“The state budget has increased 45 percent over the last six years, and legislative leaders didn’t think housing was an important enough issue to prioritize in our budget so they fall back on their default solution to every problem in California: new taxes.”

All Senate Democrats voted to in favor of the bill. Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), who authored SB 2, was pleased with the bill’s progress.

“On behalf of the thousands of California families who will benefit each year from SB 2 and the housing stability it will bring, I want to thank my Senate colleagues who voted for this important bill,” Atkins said. “I am increasingly hopeful that relief is coming soon for many hard-working people.”

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