Drive through almost any city or town in California and the impact of California’s housing crisis is plainly evident. Homelessness is on the rise. And ever-rising housing costs are going to push more and more people in that direction.
Despite months and months of hearing legislators promise action, we’re not seeing it. It’s not happening.
During the final weeks of session in California’s statehouse, lawmakers had an opportunity to provide some relief to millions of renters by providing them with a renters’ tax credit. Yet, even with nearly 4 in 10 households in California spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing and it being painfully obvious that people need help, Sacramento politicians failed to provide even that minor relief.
California has a $22 billion budget surplus this year, so the refusal to adopt a renters’ tax credit for struggling tenants amounts to legislative malpractice. Just think of what it would mean for single moms or young people just entering the workforce. The easiest way to provide relief to the millions of California renters is raising the existing tax credit. And the proposal would give relief to a housing market that is increasingly out of reach for so many people.
The tax credit is already on the books but it hasn’t increased in forty years. Forty years ago, Jimmy Carter was president and Donna Summer was topping the charts. Since that time, rents have nearly tripled and California’s rent prices are soaring above the rest of the country.
I have worked across the aisle to ensure our cities get resources to address homelessness but it isn’t enough. If we can’t even support this minor bill to help millions of struggling middle- and low-income Californians afford to stay in their homes, we just aren’t serious about the housing crisis.