Californians Could Vote on as Many as Five Housing Measures in November

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

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Gov. Jerry Brown’s embrace last week of a $2-billion bond to fund homeless housing could make for an even busier ballot in November.

Should lawmakers agree to put the bond before voters, Californians could see as many as five housing measures on the November ballot.

In addition to the homeless housing plan, backers of initiatives to expand rent controlincrease Proposition 13 benefits for homeowners and finance the cleanup of lead paint in homes all say they’ve collected enough signatures to ensure their proposals can make the ballot. Lawmakers have already agreed to put a $4-billion bond to subsidize new developments for low-income residents and provide home loans for veterans before voters in November.

The bond measure Brown agreed to support Friday wasn’t supposed to be necessary.

Two years ago, the governor and Legislature passed the same homeless housing bond, arguing they could do it without voter approval.

The measure would have helped fund new homes for chronically homeless residents with mental illness. Brown and lawmakers wanted the money to come from revenue generated by Proposition 63, a 1% income tax surcharge on millionaires passed in 2004 that funds mental health services.

But a Sacramento attorney challenged the plan, contending the funding shouldn’t come from mental health treatment programs and that it was unconstitutional to approve the measure without a public vote. It’s uncertain when litigation over the bond might end. Voter approval in November would clear the way for the money to be spent.

Brown told reporters Friday that he didn’t believe he and lawmakers erred when they decided not to put the bond on the ballot two years ago. California, he said, was “a very litigious state.”

“I think we were right to try it and we might have gotten away with it, but we didn't,” Brown said. “Now, we'll do it through the election.”

It’s not assured that the measure will appear before voters in November. It requires two-thirds supermajority support from lawmakers, which means the bond will have to garner backing from GOP legislators. Some Republicans, however, did back the proposal two years ago.

Administration officials said they hoped to receive legislative approval for the bond plan by the June 15 deadline to pass next year’s budget.

Source: LA Times

Category: Advocacy News