Misguided affordable housing bill Senate Bill 23-213 is a 105-page jerrycan of gasoline ready to pour onto the fire of housing shortages in Colorado. The bill’s title alone is 148 words long. SB213 …
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Senate Bill 23-213 is a 105-page jerrycan of gasoline ready to pour onto the fire of housing shortages in Colorado. The bill’s title alone is 148 words long.
SB213 sets out to “diagnose and address housing needs across the state.” The Department of Local Affairs will manage “Several hundred million dollars for affordable housing [that] will become available in the second half of 2023 due to the enactment of Proposition 123” (from the department’s website). That measure, approved by Colorado voters last year, authorizes one-tenth of 1% on federal taxable income taxes to be spent on affordable housing.
The approach being taken in SB213 is to displace local zoning rules with a statewide mandate to incorporate affordable housing everywhere. This misguided worldview ignores the natural balance of market forces and neighborhood sensibilities. The real shame is that nothing in this 105-page radical masterpiece will resolve the actual housing troubles. Rather, it will simply move Colorado several steps closer to liberal utopia, which maintains an embarrassing track record of unsuccess.
Excessive housing costs, like so many other challenges that Coloradans face, are created by government meddling. We repeatedly hear from the Democrats that “we must do everything possible to fix this problem.” And I repeatedly respond that they do not possess the humility to “do everything possible.”
A study by the National Association of Homebuilders concludes that, “Regulations imposed by all levels of government account for 23.8% of the current average sales price of a new single-family home …” NAHB Chairman added that, “This study illustrates how overregulation is exacerbating the nation’s housing affordability crisis and that policymakers need to take bold steps to reduce or eliminate unnecessary regulations that will help builders increase the production of quality, affordable housing.”
Adding to the cost of regulation is the $250% increase in lumber costs thanks to the Biden administration’s inflationary supply chain mess. This accounts for an additional $35,872 premium to the average house.
If the Democrats were honest with themselves, they would direct their attentions to reducing inflationary housing regulations. But their religious devotion to government micromanagement concludes as it always does; treatments for the symptoms while clinging to the causation.
The Colorado Legislature should “do everything possible” to address affordable housing by weeding out costly regulations from the existing laws. Then, watch the magic of free enterprise do what it has always done — respond to demand with attractive supply.
State senator for District 4, including rural Douglas County
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