Senator Harris’ Housing Plan may Increase Rent Prices

California Senator Kamala Harris proposed a rent-relief bill in April 2019 that has received mixed reactions and information about its effects. The bill is supposed to act as a breather for low income families in California and across the nation who suffer from rising rent costs relative to their salaries.

The bill would only go in effect for home renters who have an annual salary of $100,000 or less. However, others speculate that the bill will have poor long term effects and will eventually increase rent prices even further.

The bill will allow home renters to create a refundable monthly tax credit if their rent exceeds their salary by 30 percent or more. In the short term, this is a huge win for residents who continuously struggle to pay rent. The long term effects will not support the residents that are being fought for, which poses a significant flaw in the Senator Harris’ plan. Rent prices would affect everyone who pays rent, not just low income families.

Millions of Californians would receive this subsidy and temporarily benefit from it. They would get more money from the tax refund and be more able to afford their housing. However, landlords will also see this as a means of raising rent prices since housing will become slightly more affordable. So in reality, home renters will end up getting the short end of the stick either way.

The main problem with the housing crisis in California is the lack of development and construction of houses in cities and suburbs. With a lack of new housing, prices will continue to rise, and residents will continue to suffer. Experts say that most places in California have been underdeveloped for over 30 years, and are continuing down the same path. Without a continuous expansion of housing needed for the massive influx of people in the state, the problem is only going to worsen over time.

Republicans and others who oppose the bill are working hard to make sure that all Californians can afford housing by finding other solutions to the problem. The underlying issue at hand seems to be entirely ignored in the Senator Harris’ new bill. In a state already burdened by inflation of housing prices, Californians aren’t getting the support they need.


Photo by Luke Harold via Flickr