The Housing Elephant in the Room
Housing has moved front and center and become the elephant in the room for most policy makers in Orange County. Whether it’s the homeless crisis the county has been facing for years now, or the skyrocketing cost of rent, or the fact that there are just not enough houses to meet the demand of buyers. Members of City Council’s everywhere are faced with constant decisions on how they are going to vote when faced with a new housing project brought before them. Many succumb to the loud voices in the room and vote no. You would think that the decision to tax new housing would be the last vote any member of a city council would want to cast.
Sadly the majority of the La Habra City Council did just that at their March 15th meeting on a 3-1-1 vote. Mayor Rose Espinoza along with Councilmembers Jose Medrano and Steve Simonian voted yes on the tax, while Councilman James Gomez abstained. Councilman Tim Shaw was the only no vote. The second reading and vote on this tax increase will be at their April 5th meeting.
To tax new housing by putting into place an Inclusionary Housing Ordinance does nothing to help build more affordable housing. Studies show it actually does the opposite. By driving up the cost of housing prices and rent, studies have shown that similar ordinances have actually decreased new housing production when put into place. Now is not the time to increase the rent or cost of a home purchase.
OCTax understands that the State mandated Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) requirements are concerning. The State of California needs to step up to the plate and if they are going to force mandates like these find a way for cities to be able to implement them. Lip service from Sacramento is not going to cut it anymore, but taxing those trying to find housing is not the way out of this crisis. OCTax asks the La Habra City Council to vote no on this tax increase on April 5th.