Proposal Would Exacerbate Housing Crisis, Eliminate Construction Jobs
(March 23, 2023) The California Chamber of Commerce today announced that AB 68 (Ward; D-San Diego), a proposal that would worsen California’s existing housing crisis by preventing local governments from permitting new housing units in most of their jurisdictions, has been added to the 2023 job killer list.
“AB 68 would mandate exclusionary land use policies, which will further restrict housing supply, raise costs and prices of homes, further inequality, undermine employers’ ability to recruit for jobs, and disproportionately hurt rural California,” said CalChamber Vice President of Advocacy Adam Regele. “AB 68 is not the solution to California’s housing crisis – it will make things worse.”
If enacted, AB 68 would prevent local governments from exercising their land-use authority to permit new housing construction in counties that the bill claims are not “climate smart parcels,” despite the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) recognition to the contrary of projects that this bill would prohibit.
AB 68 is also opposed by the California Business Industry Association (CBIA) which has labeled the bill a Housing Killer.
According to a letter sent by CalChamber to the author, AB 68 pre-determines that only a small fraction of available land in California is suitable for housing and that the vast majority of remaining California land is off limits, no matter how thorough the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review is or how sustainable the project. The letter also points out that AB 68 likely creates constitutional issues including violations of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 19 of the California Constitution. AB 68 would invite billions of dollars in liability for the state.
“California is deeply mired in a housing crisis driven by lack of affordability and supply,” said Regele. “It is imperative that the Legislature bring more housing into the market at all levels, in communities of all types. Unfortunately, AB 68 is a proposal that will exacerbate housing scarcity, raise housing costs and reduce opportunities for residents to work and raise their families here. It is a job killer because it will eliminate construction jobs and minimize the ability of workers in all sectors of the economy to be employed here.”
The California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) is the largest broad-based business advocate to government in California. Membership represents one-quarter of the private sector jobs in California and includes firms of all sizes and companies from every industry within the state. Leveraging our front-line knowledge of laws and regulations, we provide products and services to help businesses comply with both federal and state law. CalChamber, a not-for-profit organization with roots dating to 1890, promotes international trade and investment in order to stimulate California’s economy and create jobs. Please visit our website at www.calchamber.com.