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Sue Frost's picture
Joined: 05/22/2017
Posts: 20
Holding Your Tax Dollars Hostage

Earlier this year, Governor Newsom announced that he was going to make housing his top priority, and called for 3.5 million new homes to be built in California within six years.  I believe this is a laudable top priority, and have previously written about the great need in our region for more housing. To start with, Governor Newsom wisely announced $500 million in awards to cities and counties that meet new, short-term housing goals.  I believe the enticement of these funds can propel real change, and I hope Sacramento County will win some of this money.

Unfortunately, Governor Newsom coupled this “carrot” with an extremely dangerous “stick”, in the form of withholding gas tax money from cities and counties that don’t meet the regional housing targets set by the state.  This has shaken virtually the entire state, as 97% of California cities and counties (including Sacramento County) are not hitting their housing targets.

This plan has a fundamental flaw in logic because it ties gas tax money to production goals, when counties are only accountable for planning.  We should, and do, encourage housing through the land use process, but the decision whether to build more housing comes largely from factors outside our control.  We cannot force builders to build, nor can we force financial institutions to lend the builders money.

Even when projects have been approved, lately we are seeing production slowed down because the builders cannot find enough carpenters, plumbers, electricians, etc. to do the work, in part because the state has seemingly abandoned vocational education.  Too few schools have a “shop class”, and too many children have been told that college was the only route to success, when in reality jobs working in the trades can often pay more than jobs that require a college education.

Beyond that, I believe it’s wrong to threaten our gas tax road funding, especially after voters went to the polls last November and voted to keep the gas tax.  I’m not sure the gas tax repeal would have failed, had voters known the funding could be taken away for something entirely out of their control.

Our roads cannot bear even a small reduction in funding.  As I wrote about earlier this year, even with the gas tax in place, the County needs an additional $15-20 million yearly just to maintain the roads at the current level, or an additional $50 million yearly to get them to a standard people would describe as “good”.  

If Governor Newsom is serious about wanting to build 3.5 million new homes in California, beyond incentives he needs to look at the high cost of construction.  It is extremely expensive for a builder in California to conform to the unique regulations contained within the California Environmental Quality Act, and the enormous California Building Code grows larger each year.  These regulations are part of the reason that a home in California is 2.4 times more expensive than a comparable home in Texas.

There are potential solutions to this housing crisis, but threatening counties like Sacramento for a problem out of our control ignores the root of the problem, and is ultimately doomed to fail.

Thank you for reading – and as always, if you want to contact me call me at 916-874-5491, or e-mail me at SupervisorFrost@saccounty.net.

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Bunky Svendsen's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 165
Gas tax dollars?

What? Since when, do developers need "gas tax dollars" to get their projects done? Sounds like socialism to me. They need to build it and pay for the the supporting infrastructure on their own dime.... or it shouldnt happen. I really dont think you need to "force builders to build". It doesnt seem to be slowing down the builders...gas tax or not. This just seems like an attack piece on Gavin Newsom.

Frank Pumilia's picture
Joined: 08/08/2007
Posts: 134
<p>What are you talking about

<p>What are you talking about......read Supervisor Frost’s carefully &nbsp;before you post comments that do not make sense</p>

Jeffrey D Consiglio's picture
Joined: 09/09/2018
Posts: 18
RE: Housing

As someone who moved here from Louisiana about a year ago, and is still shocked and horrified by the high cost of housing in CA., I think you hit the nail on the head with this.

"If Governor Newsom is serious about wanting to build 3.5 million new homes in California, beyond incentives he needs to look at the high cost of construction.  It is extremely expensive for a builder in California to conform to the unique regulations contained within the California Environmental Quality Act, and the enormous California Building Code grows larger each year. These regulations are part of the reason that a home in California is 2.4 times more expensive than a comparable home in Texas."

We all hopefully understand the economic laws of supply and demand, but the supply is being choked-off because the CA government strongly disincentives builders to build affordable housing. With all the fees builders have to pay, just to break ground on a building project, the incentives run more towards building very expensive homes.

Then of course current homeowners often fight development of affordable housing, because they don't want their own property values to go down, and they don't want overcrowding in their area.

Personally, I want to see affordable housing for average people in this state. My wife and I can afford to live here, but I worry about my kid's ability to be able to afford to live in CA when they reach adulthood. This is a hot-button topic for a lot of us.

Jeff Consiglio
Rancho Murieta Resident
https://CrazyOldHealthNut.com
https://FolsomRealtor.com

Jeffrey D Consiglio's picture
Joined: 09/09/2018
Posts: 18
Darn typos

Meant to type disincentivizes above, rather than disincentives. 

Hangs head in shame for typo.

Jeff Consiglio
Rancho Murieta Resident
https://CrazyOldHealthNut.com
https://FolsomRealtor.com

John Hein's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 353
Making sense

Frank, you know perfectly well that the left has no common sense so what would you expect from Mr. Svendsen? We've seen plenty of non sense comments in the past. Ms. Frost happens to be the only one on the board of supervisors with a shred of common sense.

John Hein

Betsy Guzzetta's picture
Joined: 10/09/2007
Posts: 129
Common Sense

John - you obviously have different opinions than others but most are not rude to their neighbors in a public forum.  You might try it.  You'll feel better!  "It is a mark of an educated mind to disagree without being disagreeable."

Betsy Guzzetta

Bunky Svendsen's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 165
Thanks Betsy

I was going to reply to that rude comment...but just decided it wasnt worth my time. Thanks for your "educated" reply.

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