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Assembly Democratic Caucus
Assembly Bill 1487 (Chiu), the "San Francisco Bay Area Regional Housing Finance Act”, advanced from the State Assembly to the State Senate. It will be heard by the Senate Housing Committee on June 18, 2019.
Please read on to learn about Assembly Bill 1487. If you agree that the bill is flawed and should be defeated, then please follow the “TAKE ACTION” suggestions at the end of this article.
About Assembly Bill 1487
The stated purpose of AB-1487 is to "establish the 'Housing Alliance for the Bay Area' in order to increase affordable housing in the San Francisco Bay Area by providing enhanced funding and technical assistance for tenant protection, affordable housing preservation, and new affordable housing production." The bill authorizes the creation of a bay area regional housing finance agency. The agency would have the authority to impose region-wide special taxes (including parcel taxes, business taxes, transactions and use tax), issue bonds, incur and issue debt, buy and sell land, and allocate funds, among other powers. It is unclear how many of the measures that generate revenues would require voter approval pursuant to the California Constitution. Proponents of the bill hope to raise $1.5 billion annually.
It makes sense that some funding (not the excessive sum of $1.5 billion annually) is needed for locally grown affordable housing projects and programs. However, another exorbitantly expensive regional body is unnecessary and unwanted to accomplish this.
Reasons to Oppose AB-1487
- AB-1487 would mandate an excessive amount of new taxes and fees. To raise $1.5 billion annually in taxes and fees for just housing is excessive. Such a sum would detract from the ability of local jurisdictions to raise taxes to pay for other needs. Moreover, the burden of the new taxes and fees would add to the incredibly high cost of living for Bay Area residents.
- The structure of the “Housing Alliance for the Bay Area’s” governing board may give less populated counties, like Marin, little say. The membership, size, and geographic representation of the Housing Alliance’s governing board would be determined by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Executive Board of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). The governing board would consist of MTC commissioners and ABAG Executive Board members. In addition, the governing board’s members would be appointed by MTC’s Commission and ABAG’s Executive Board. Therefore, the Housing Alliance’s governing Board would most likely have a similar structure to the governing boards of MTC and ABAG. Counties with greater populations have more votes on MTC’s Commission and ABAG’s Executive Board than less populated counties like Marin. This has been a problem for Marin and other smaller counties, which tend to have different priorities than the more densely populated counties. Just think of “Plan Bay Area” and how the “one size fits all” approach didn’t work for Marin.
- The regional “Housing Alliance for the Bay Area”, rather than local governments, would decide which types of housing projects and programs would get funding. Since more densely populated counties would most likely have greater say over the types of housing projects and programs that would be funded, this could mean that the types of housing that Marin prefers (E.g. low-density housing that abides by local zoning, development standards, and parking requirements) may not qualify for the funds.
- None of the funds would be designated to mitigate the adverse impacts that would result from the new housing development. (E.g. impacts on the environment, public health and safety, traffic congestion, infrastructure, utilities (water), public services (schools), etc.). There should be funding for both: 1) providing affordable housing projects and programs; and 2) mitigating the resulting adverse impacts.
- The concept of a "Housing Alliance for the Bay Area" stems from the Committee to House the Bay Area (CASA) Compact, a regional initiative.It is important to remember that the Committee to House the Bay Area (CASA) was formed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). Yet, the CASA Compact was never even approved of by MTC or ABAG. When voting on the CASA Compact, both MTC and ABAG representatives authorized respectively their Chair and President to sign the compact but in addition, specified that "this authorization does not constitute an approval of the Compact itself".
If you agree that Assembly Bill 1487 should be defeated, then please do the following ASAP:
Call the members of the State Senate Housing Committee and urge them to oppose AB-1487. In addition, please call and send letters to Senator Mike McGuire and your local representatives (City Councilmembers and County Supervisors) and ask them to oppose and lobby against the bill.
Sample Script: “Hi. My name is ____ . I’m calling in opposition to AB-1487, which will be heard in the Senate Housing Committee on June 18th. I agree that some funding (not the excessive sum of 1.5 billion annually) is needed for locally grown affordable housing projects and programs. However, another exorbitantly expensive regional body is unnecessary and unwanted to accomplish this. I urge the Senator to oppose this wasteful bill.”
Contact Information for the Senate Housing Committee members:
Senator Scott D. Wiener (Dem) (Chair), San Francisco: (916) 651-4011
Senator Mike Morrell (Vice Chair), Rancho Cucamonga: (916) 651-4023
Senator Patricia C. Bates (Rep), Laguna Hills/Encinitas: (916) 651-4036
Senator Anna M. Caballero (Dem), Merced/Salina: (916) 651-4012
Senator Maria Elena Durazo (Dem), Los Angeles: (916) 651-4024
Senator Mike McGuire (Dem), Marin & Sonoma Counties: (916) 651-4002
Senator John Moorlach (Rep), Costa Mesa: (916) 651-4037
Senator Richard Roth (Dem), Riverside: (916) 651-4031
Senator Nancy Skinner (Dem), Oakland: (916) 651-4009
Senator Thomas Umberg (Dem), Garden Grove: (916) 651=-4034
Senator Bob Wieckowski (Dem), Fremont: (916) 651-4010
Senator Mike McGuire’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Mike McGuire’s telephone: (916) 651-4002
Marin County Board of Supervisors’ email: email@example.com
Marin County Supervisors’ main telephone number: (415) 473-7331
Thank you in advance for taking action. Together we can make a difference!