Capitol Alert AM Newsletter

Investing in low-income communities + Child care advocacy + Bills shall get hearings

These are some of the issues behind California’s housing crisis

California's housing crisis is due in large part to a lack of supply, particularly when it comes to affordable housing, and it is hitting low-income individuals the hardest.
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California's housing crisis is due in large part to a lack of supply, particularly when it comes to affordable housing, and it is hitting low-income individuals the hardest.

We made it to Wednesday! Let’s dive right in, shall we?

WHOSE OPPORTUNITY?

Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, D-Encino, earned a nod of approval from his colleagues on the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation Monday when his Assembly Bill 791 unanimously passed its hearing on Monday.

The bill would provide $100 million in new tax credits to keep affordable homes in designated opportunity zones and would create an additional $200 million in credits to encourage housing construction in those communities.

The legislation follows growing concerns that so-called opportunity zones created by the 2017 federal tax overhaul will direct billions of dollars of business-oriented development to those generally low-income communities and potentially push out residents.

California has 879 opportunity zones, where investors can take advantage of new federal tax benefits.

“We have a unique opportunity to dramatically increase private investment in some of California’s most economically distressed communities,” Gabriel said in a press release. “But without action by the state, there is no guarantee that new investments will benefit low-income communities or the broader public. Our legislation would direct new capital into affordable housing and help ensure that opportunity zones are part of the solution to California’s housing crisis.”

The California Housing Consortium, along with a group of affordable housing advocacy organizations, supports the bill, which Gabriel’s office said will be heard in Assembly Appropriations within two weeks.

Marina Wiant, the consortium’s vice president of government affairs, said the bill focuses on sustaining affordable housing as the state prioritizes production in order to achieve a goal of 3.5 million new units by 2025.

“We need to remember that 1.4 million of those units need to be affordable to low-income families,” Wiant continued. “We need to be careful in our policies that those numbers don’t go up because of unintended consequences from this build, build, build method.”

CHILD CARE OBSTACLES

Note: This section has been updated to reflect changes to the program’s schedule.

Nearly 700 parents and children advocating for childcare reforms will be in Sacramento this morning to highlight barriers to navigating childcare in California, which some lawmakers are taking steps to address in a number of bills this session.

Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, has Senate Bill 321 to increase access to services under CalWORKS and Assemblywoman Eloise Gómez Reyes, D-Grand Terrace, authored Assembly Bill 194 to provide $1 billion in childcare assistance for families.

The advocacy rally is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

SILENT DEATH

After CALmatters reported late last month that powerful Democrats are silently killing bills before hearings, lawmakers from across the aisle hurled their frustration at committee chairs.

The California Assembly passed a rule early in session that authorized committee leaders to decide what bills wouldn’t get a hearing. Under this new provision, Dems are squashing Dem bills, and of course Republican-led proposals face even grimmer survival rates.

Insert House Resolution 35, Assemblyman Jay Obernolte’s attempt to overthrow the new rule and reestablish the “principles of democracy.”

Currently, all bills “may be set and heard.” The Big Bear Lake Republican wants to swap out that “may” for “shall.”

A major difference one word shall possibly make.

For your radar — The UC Center Sacramento is hosting a talk today at noon titled “State-Level Investments in Early Childhood Education: Evidence of Short and Long-term Impacts.Jade Jenkins, education professor at UC Irvine, will discuss how mandatory kindergarten attendance helps promote greater education and income outcomes for women and underrepresented populations. The event is part of the center’s Speaker Series, and will be at 1130 K Street. You can register for the event here.

TWEET OF THE DAY

A coalition of female lawmakers applauded Newsom for axing diaper and feminine hygiene product taxes on Tuesday, The Bee’s Sophia Bollag reports. The governor also announced he’d add $130 million to cover childcare costs and double a tax credit for families of children under 6 to a total $1,000 in his May budget revise.

Read more here.

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Hannah Wiley joined The Bee as a legislative reporter in 2019. She produces the morning newsletter for Capitol Alert and previously reported on immigration, education and criminal justice. She’s a Chicago-area native and a graduate of Saint Louis University and Northwestern.
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