By Jon Coupal | Another week, another lie about Proposition 13. Recall that last week this column burst the bubble on the myth that schools are “starved” for revenue. This week’s narrative from the Prop. 13 opponents is that California’s high fees for building homes and commercial property is due to Proposition 13 denying local governments the ability to raise revenue.
A study just released by the University of California Center for Housing Innovation concluded that the “impact fees” that local governments charge developers are a big reason why it’s so expensive to build a home in California. The fees are not only costly, they’re also unpredictable, lack transparency and can kill a project’s viability, according to the study.
On these points, the study is absolutely correct. The size and scope of developer fees in California is more extensive than in any other state. Originally intended to ensure that the cost of infrastructure for development (like sidewalks and utilities) is covered, developer fees have morphed into a free-for-all that now includes fees for such things as parking lots, parks, affordable housing, transportation and public art. In the Bay Area, developer fees to construct a single-family home can exceed $150,000.
But instead of blaming the housing shortfall on these excessive costs passed through to home buyers, the study places the blame expressly on Proposition 13.
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