California is one of the least affordable states to live. And it appears it's about to get a little more expensive for residents.
Rolling back regulations for developers is a path the legislature could have taken to make building homes more cost effective. But the California State Senate instead passed a bill that will tax real estate transaction documents.
The new fee is expected to generate between $200 and $300 million for affordable housing.
The legislation, authored by Senator Toni Atkins of San Diego, would impose a minimum of$75 fee on documents such as deeds and notices, with a cap of $225 per transaction.
It passed 27-12 with all Democratic votes, and now heads to the Assembly.
Affordable housing is a serious issue in California, with prices reaching all-time highs in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Lawmakers are pushing a series of bills aimed at spurring more building of low-cost housing.
Atkins said, "When you use this money to build more housing, you generate more income, more tax, more jobs, and it helps spur the economy. This will make a difference for middle income families."
Republican opponents disagreed, saying it would hurt middle class people trying to buy homes.
"I want to solve that problem, but I can't do it on the backs of the emerging people who have worked hard, trying to get their first house or move their family into a home that would accommodate their growing family," said Senator Joel Anderson.
Several Republicans said the Legislature should roll back regulations on housing construction instead of passing Atkins' bill.
A number of housing bills are advancing through the Legislature, but none have passed both houses and secured Brown's signature.