“Both candidates for governor agree that the cost of housing in California, to rent and own, is too dang high. They concur that the skyrocketing homeless population is a travesty. And they want to help the 1 in 5 Californians who lives in poverty. But that’s pretty much all they agree on when it comes to how to make California more affordable.
Gavin Newsom, as has been his wont during two decades in public office, is a man with a plan. Fifteen of them, the Democrat says, that will address California’s housing and homelessness problems. John Cox, as has been his wont during his two decades of trying to be elected to office, is a man with a critique. The GOP candidate says “all of these plans don’t mean a thing if we can’t change a lot of these laws that that are driving housing costs through the roof.” As for specifics on how he’d do that, Cox said, “We’ll talk about that after I’m elected governor.”
Until then, here are some areas where the candidates are trying to address California’s affordability problems:
Housing: Both candidates propose building their way out of the housing shortage. It’s easier said than done.
Newsom aims to build 500,000 new homes a year until 2025, a goal he concedes is “audacious” — probably because California has built more than 300,000 homes in a year only twice in the past six decades, according to the Construction Industry Research Board.
Newsom offers several carrot-and-stick ideas on how to get there.
One carrot: California now offers $85 million annually in tax credits for developers to spur the construction of affordable housing. Newsom proposes increasing the state’s share to $500 million, which he estimates would “generate an additional investment of $1.5 billion to $2 billion in new affordable housing production.”
The stick: He’d work with regional agencies to withhold transportation funding to cities that don’t build the number of units they commit to in their state-required housing plans.
Cox wants to build 3 million units over the next decade. The focal point of his housing program revolves around reforming the California Environmental Quality Act, colloquially known as CEQA. He said eliminating many of the law’s provisions and “government red tape” would speed production of housing.”