Governor Brown's Budget Makes Clear: Measure S = Housing Crisis


Governor Jerry Brown unveiled his 2017-18 budget today. The "Housing and Local Government" chapter spells out in no uncertain terms that the state's housing production badly lags the economic recovery -- and that by banning new housing, policies like Measure S will punish workers and renters who will only catch a break on rent if production increases.

With Los Angeles housing construction calculated at only 41% of the area's estimated need, the budget summary effectively dismantles the case for Measure S. It shows how housing bans raise rents, drive away the middle class, and worsen climate change, traffic, and homelessness.

According to the Governor's budget (p.115-116):

The lack of housing supply creates a number of challenges for the state and its residents. High housing prices limit the amount families can otherwise invest in nutrition, education, and other necessities after paying for rent. Approximately half of all California households are spending more than 30% of their income on housing costs, and nearly one‐third of all California households are spending more than 50% of income on housing costs.

Members of median-to-moderate-income professions such as teachers, firefighters, police officers, and nurses are increasingly unable to afford to live in the communities that they serve. When households spend increasing shares of their incomes on housing costs, it leaves less money that could otherwise be used to support the state's economy. Additionally, insufficient housing in job centers hinders the state's environmental quality and runs counter to the state's climate change goals. When Californians seeking affordable housing are forced to drive longer distances to work, an increased amount of greenhouse gasses and other pollutants is released. Recent studies indicate that high-density housing minimizes environmental harm because people have the least environmental impact when living in urban areas.

The housing shortage directly impacts the number of individuals experiencing homelessness in California as well. In 2016, although California comprised 12% of the nation's population, it had 22% (118,100) of individuals experiencing homelessness in the United States as reported by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. California had an even greater share of the chronically homeless, with 39% of the nation's total.

Download the budget summary at The Housing and Local Government chapter begins on page 115.

A report from Beacon Economics released last December spelled out additional consequences of Measure S in particular, demonstrating that the two-year moratorium could cost $3.8 billion in economic activity, destroy 24,000 jobs, and cost $140 million in public funds, with effects lasting ten years or more due to the measure's "silent moratorium."