Prop 1

Prop 1Housing Programs and Veterans’ Loans Bond (2018) -I’m voting YES

This would allow the state to sell $4 Billion worth of bonds (basically a loan from taxpayers) to raise money for programs to help create affordable housing.
Here’s what the money would be spent on: (from ballotpedia)

  • $1 billion for the CalVet Home Loan Program, which offers loans to veterans for the purchase of homes, farms, units in cooperative developments, and mobile homes;
  • $1.5 billion for the Multifamily Housing Program (MHP), which offers loans for the construction, rehabilitation, and preservation of rental housing for persons with incomes of 60 percent or below of the area median income;
  • $150 million for the Transit-Oriented Development Implementation Fund, which offers loans and grants to local governments and developers for housing projects near transit stations;
  • $300 million for the Regional Planning, Housing, and Infill Incentive Account, which offers grants for infill infrastructure that supports high-density affordable and mixed-income housing;
  • $150 million for the Home Purchase Assistance Program, which offers loans to low-income and moderate-income homebuyers;
  • $300 million for the Joe Serna, Jr. Farmworker Housing Grant Fund, which offers grants and loans for farmworker housing;
  • $300 million for the Local Housing Trust Matching Grant Program, which offers matching grants to local housing trust funds for “pilot programs to demonstrate innovative, cost-saving approaches to creating or preserving affordable housing;” and
  • $300 million for the Self-Help Housing Fund, which provides forgivable loans for mortgage assistance, the development of multiple home ownership units, and manufactured homes.

This was put on the ballot by the CA state legislature by mostly a Dem vs. Republican split. It is supported by housing advocates like Habitat for Humanity, and also by builders, because it would help increase demand for building houses. It has very little opposition. Most opposition is from people who don’t like bonds because they are concerned about the debt level of the state.

A detailed lesson on how bonds work in CA is here. Right now, CA spends about 7% of its budget (or about $7.8 billion a year) toward paying off loans like this, which have been used mostly for schools, transportation,  and water infrastructure. The interest for Prop 1 would add be $170 million for the next 35 years, and so would increase the total state loan payments from 7.8 to about 8 billion.

I think these are great reasons to borrow money, and I support Prop 1.