Editorial: Californians say ‘yes’ to housing measures. Mostly, they’re not asking for a mansion. They’re asking for a place to live.
SACRAMENTO — It took six months for the governor’s proposed tax increase on homeowners to finally pass a legislative committee. For those 6.3 million Californians with homeowner mortgages, the increase could come as early as next year. In late September, the House and Senate passed Senate Bill 1, which contains a series of new and controversial hikes on homeowner taxes. But a committee on Friday blocked the measure after a public outcry, forcing the House to vote again on the bill in the early morning hours of Monday.
Today, the Senate rejected SB 1 outright by a vote of 24 to 9.
For decades, the California Legislature has quietly passed more than 40 laws raising the cost of housing in California, without ever publicly identifying the policies or calling for public hearings. The bills have targeted not only high-end homes, but also the homes of those with modest incomes, senior citizens and military service members.
For years, this hidden agenda has had the effect of artificially inflating home values and leaving a generation of middle-income Californians to subsidize the high-end market. While the state has imposed an estimated $1.5 billion in extra taxes on homeowners, no one has ever demanded to know how much of this was due to SB 1, SB 20, or any other piece of legislation.
Today, we know: The California Legislature secretly raised homeowner taxes by $6,100 over the past 12 years. The state paid about $10 billion to buy and build almost 10,000 homes, with another $3 billion going to homeowners to cover the costs of their mortgages. In all, the state’s homeowner tax hikes have cost California homeowners an estimated $27 billion since 2000 and resulted in more than 1,000 single-family homes that are either undervalued or underwater.
For decades, the state has also spent millions of taxpayer dollars subsidizing out-of-state buyers of expensive single-family homes. In fact, in 2012, the state spent $23 per capita on out-of-state buyers. In comparison, the total cost of the state’s home loans, housing