The Week in Politics

By on March 1, 2015
Yucaipa Political News

This week Assembly Democrats introduced legislation aimed at creating more affordable housing. The Democrat’s plan would place a small fee on real estate transaction documents to establish a permanent source of funding for affordable housing, increase the low income tax credit by $300 million, and use a portion of Prop 47 funds to reduce repeat offences by providing housing for formerly incarcerated Californians.

“Housing instability is affecting more people than ever before, including more young people and families,” said Speaker Atkins (D-San Diego). “To make inroads against California’s housing issues, the Assembly is taking a comprehensive approach to increasing the amount of affordable housing in our state.”

Most Californians pay a disproportionate amount for housing, with over 35 percent of homeowners and nearly half of renters spending over one-third of their incomes on housing costs. The median income in California is 15 percent above the national average, but the median home value is 144 percent higher than the national average. The homeownership rate in California is the third lowest in the nation,

“The median value of a home in California ($437,800) is 144.3 percent higher than the national median home value ($179,200), yet, the median household income of $61,400 in California is only 15.7 percent higher than the national average ($53,046). This may explain why California’s homeownership rate of 54 percent is the third lowest in the nation, Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) said.

“Speaker Atkins is correct that the lack of affordable housing is a large threat to our economy and has far reaching implications beyond just putting a roof over someone’s head,” Huff said. “I think that her goal of increasing government subsidized housing is far too narrow to address the true crisis of ‘housing affordability’ for all families in California.

“Families at all income levels and in all parts of our state are struggling to pay the rent or mortgage. We need a comprehensive solution that addresses housing cost drivers from excessive local government fees and rules, new costs from state mandates, and nuisance lawsuits that prevent projects from moving forward. That conversation needs to start today. Subsidized housing may be part of the solution, but you cannot tax and subsidize enough to fix California’s dysfunctional housing market.”

Washington, D.C.

After more than two months of discussion and debate, Congress voted late Friday night to fund the Department of Homeland Security through next week. Last December Congress passed an omnibus bill to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year. However, Republicans withheld funding from DHS in hopes that the new Congress would be able to use the funding as leverage against President Obama’s immigration action.

Now it looks increasingly less likely that such action will be taken. The House passed a bill last month that would have funded DHS while stripping Obama’s ability to delay deportations of up to five million undocumented immigrants. The Senate voted on the bill on four occasions, but Republicans couldn’t get the votes to break a Democrat filibuster.

It’s rumored that Republicans will admit defeat and pass a “clean” bill next week to fund DHS through the fiscal year.

Last week a federal judge in Texas stopped Obama’s actions, arguing that they violated the role of the president as outlined in the Constitution. The Administration disagreed with that, saying that the actions are within the power of the president. They asked for a stay of the injunction while they appeal the case.

San Bernardino County is home to over 150,000 undocumented immigrants.