Californians Approve Housing Bonds, Reject Gas Tax Repeal

Propositions 1, 6 and 10 in review:

  • Proposition 1 (approved) will authorize $4 billion in general obligation bonds for housing-related programs, loans, grants, and projects and housing loans for veterans.
  • Proposition 6 (failed) sought to repeal California’s new taxes on gas and diesel, imposed by lawmakers.
  • Proposition 10 (failed) looked to repeal a 1995 housing act, allowing cities to expand rent control giving them more freedom to determine how housing rules might work.


More background on the ballot measures:

Proposition 1

To anyone who lives in the state, these statistics are no surprise: an average California home costs more than two times the national average and monthly rent is nearly 50 percent higher as of 2018.

In one of the tightest state ballot races, 54 percent of voters approved Proposition 1, which authorizes $4 billion in bonds for housing loans and construction of affordable housing for low-income people, including military veterans, seniors, and disabled individuals on fixed incomes.

After hearing that Proposition 1 had passed, Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, told the San Francisco Business Times: “Californians voted with their hearts and their heads to lift others up. As the co-leaders of these two statewide campaigns, we couldn’t be more proud.”

State leaders said they intend to use the bond money to build more apartments near urban transit hubs, help with down payments for low-income and middle-class home buyers, and build emergency housing for homeless children and families in high-poverty areas.  

Opponents criticized the cost of funding the proposition, saying it’s ill-advised to create so much debt and does not address the underlying problems that have made housing expensive.


Proposition 6

Proposition 6 was ultimately rejected by voters, with 55.3 percent against the measure. Proposition 6 sought to repeal tax increases of 12-cents-per-gallon on gas and 20-cents-per-gallon on diesel fuel, which California’s Democratic-led legislature passed last year. The funds from these taxes are intended for road, highway and transit improvements.

Opponents of Proposition 6—those who oppose repealing the taxes—point to the $54 billion that the higher taxes are expected to generate over the next 10 years. Prior to last year, the state’s gas tax had not been raised for 25 years. Gov. Jerry Brown and other prominent Democrats oppose Proposition 6, and the majority of voters agree. Defeating prop 6 ensures that roughly 6,500 current transportation projects stay on schedule rather than being abandoned or delayed. Opponents of the measure are satisfied that key infrastructure projects around the state will continue to progress.

Those who supported Proposition 6 believed California should better manage its current transportation budget and that the tax increase is unnecessary. Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox was among the highest-profile supporters of the propositions, stating that he would repeal the taxes if elected.

The Bay Area News Group reported that opponents of the ballot measure spent more than 48 million dollars to defeat the proposition, while supporters spent nearly $5 million.


Proposition 10

California’s proposal to strengthen rent control was defeated, with 61.7 percent of California voters opposing it. 

This measure would have given cities and counties authority over rent control, repealing a 1995 law which permitted the state to regulate rent control. That law, the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, limits rent control on apartment units built since 1995 as well as single-family homes and condos; In some cities, such as San Francisco and Oakland, rental units built earlier are not subject to rent control as well. According to the current law, if a tenant moves, a landlord may raise the rent on a rent-controlled unit to “fair market value.”

The nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California surveyed 989 likely voters in October and found that 60 percent opposed to Proposition 10. Twenty-five percent were in favor and 15 percent were undecided. The poll results were similar with 38.3 percent of voters in favor of the proposition, and 61.7 percent opposed. California’s limits on rent control remain intact.


Feature Image Credit: Purchased from Associated Press Images

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