California’s Lieutenant Governor, Controller, Treasurer, and Insurance Commissioner Endorse Senator Wiener’s SB 50

July 25, 2019

San Francisco –  Today, California’s Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, Controller Betty Yee, Treasurer Fiona Ma, and Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara announced their support of Senator Scott Wiener’s (D-San Francisco) Senate Bill 50. SB 50 eliminates hyper-low-density zoning near transit and job centers, thus legalizing apartment buildings and affordable housing in these locations so that more people can live near transit and near where they work. It also reduces or eliminates minimum parking requirements for new developments. California has a 3.5 million home deficit, equal to the housing deficit of the other 49 states combined. California ranks 49 out of 50 states in homes per capita. Since the early 1960s, California population has almost tripled, while its housing production has declined by about 75%.

The four statewide elected officials explained their support of SB 50:

“As someone who spent 18 years in the housing industry, I saw this crisis coming for a long time,” said Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis. “This bill is the most impactful attempt to date to deliver more homes to Californians while ensuring that every jurisdiction across the state absorbs a fair share of the burden.”

“If policymakers do not act in a stable economy to address our housing challenges, housing costs could continue to rise even amidst lay-offs and furloughs. With less revenue to spend on important state programs, policymakers will be confronted with difficult choices between housing assistance and other critical social safety net services,” said Controller Yee, the state’s chief fiscal officer. “SB 50 recognizes the critical fact that, to have any chance at meeting more ambitious housing targets, significant zoning changes must be made.”

“California’s severe housing crisis is harming our economy, pushing families into homelessness, and threatening the future of our young people and our state,” said Treasurer Ma. “We must take action today. SB 50 is a meaningful piece of legislation that will help address a problem in need of bold solutions.”

“The devastating wildfires that have decimated communities living in high risk fire areas the past few years is a clear sign that we as a state need to be looking at where and how we build homes,” said Insurance Commissioner Lara. “The fact is, California is reaching crisis level on affordable housing options which pushes people to increasingly rural areas where they face higher risks. SB 50 is one step we need to take to protect the people of California.”

“California’s severe housing shortage is harming millions of Californians, and it’s time to act with bold and decisive pro-housing steps,” said Senator Wiener. “It’s time to stop kicking the can down the road and instead do what Californians want us to do: address our housing crisis now. As we build the millions of new homes we know we need, we need to ensure that we avoid endless and environmentally destructive sprawl. We should focus new housing near jobs and transit.”

SB 50 is supported by a broad coalition of labor, environmental, affordable housing, senior, student, and business organizations, including the California Labor Federation, the California Chamber of Commerce, the State Building and Construction Trades Council, the California League of Conservation Voters, AARP California, the UC Student Association, the California Building Industry Association, the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council, the Natural Resources Defense Council, CALPIRG, Environment California, Habitat for Humanity, the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition, the California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund (CaRLA), the California Apartment Association, and a host of other renter, business, and labor organizations. It is sponsored by California YIMBY, the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California, and the California Association of Realtors.

It also enjoys bi-partisan support from members of the Legislature and support from numerous mayors and city council members from around the state including San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, and Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs.