Dissecting the Sunshine Tax: Would lowering the bar on housing keep costs down in San Diego?

0
84
Avitar.jpg

The Sunshine Tax. That derogatory term used to describe the overtly overpriced nature of housing in famously lovely, sunny-weathered cities applies, in no uncertain terms, to San Diego.

San Diego is a lovely city to live in while you are outside, but shut that door and move to your desk where the bills sit and all of a sudden it is not so wonderful.

The Sunshine Tax. That derogatory term used to describe the overtly overpriced nature of housing in famously lovely, sunny-weathered cities applies, in no uncertain terms, to San Diego.

San Diego is a lovely city to live in while you are outside, but shut that door and move to your desk where the bills sit and all of a sudden it is not so wonderful.

Indeed, a recent study by the California Housing Partnership Corporation (CHPC) revealed that families in San Diego spend an average of 69% of their income on housing and that, in order to be comfortable and independent financially, one must earn $34.50/hour, which is about three times the minimum wage of $11.50/hour.

Both San Diego lawmakers and residents agree that this is a big problem; a problem whose tentacles expand into new areas causing new problems. One such example of this is the homeless crisis which many experts believe has its origins in the foundational problem of unaffordable housing.

Many solutions have been proposed since the housing bubble began its inexorable inflation in San Diego and we have not been able to puncture the balloon since. However, recently, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) voted to ask state officials to lower the bar for further development of housing in the county.

Of course, lowering the bar seems counter-productive. Why would San Diego lower its expectations for completed housing to help combat the costs and increase supply? As is often the case with bureaucratic entanglements in the form of quotas and stolid expectations, the burden of fulfilling them is often more inhibitive than helpful.

It should be noted that in this instance, SANDAG has not successfully made a concrete case for how the current bar is inhibitive.

That said, they do have one thing correct, at least in theory: the housing is impassive. It does not take into account the various needs of individual communities within San Diego. For example, certain areas like Chula Vista are in need of more housing than, say, Ramona or Del Mar. That is why SANDAG argues that lowering the housing bar in San Diego would “better reflect realistic conditions in the region.”

SANDAG’s motivations and justifications are not totally clear in this. While they do make sensible arguments for lowering the housing bar, many state officials are arguing that the whole notion is extraneous and they have a bit common sense on their side.

In the end, though, there are two things both parties agree on, San Diego needs more houses and the current rate of production is insufficient. It is doubtful that SANDAG’s recommendation of lowering the housing bar would ameliorate the situation in any tangible way, but it is simultaneously clear that San Diego’s high housing bar has not yielded the intended results. So would it be detrimental to lower the bar? Most likely not.     

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here