Letters to the Editor

New homes good for governments

The Bee reported on a new study that suggests that Proposition 13 has contributed to urban sprawl because strip malls and big-box centers became low-hanging fruit for cash-poor local governments ("Toss book on growth, report urges," Sept. 7, Page B-1).

However, we saw no mention of another study, "The Housing Bottom Line: Fiscal Impact of New Home Construction on California Governments," that shows that after subtracting for costs to government, new housing more than pays its way.

The study, prepared by Blue Sky Consulting, shows that one-time net revenues are, on average, positive -- producing $3,017 for cities, $1,706 for counties and $15,858 for the state. What about ongoing fiscal impacts? There again, there is a net gain. Authors found that for a new, median-priced house, the ongoing fiscal impact is positive, at $771, $190, and $3,498 at the city, county, and state levels, respectively.

Next time a member of a city council or board of supervisors says Proposition 13 makes home construction a bad deal for government, tell them that that myth -- like all the other attacks on Proposition 13 -- is busted.

JON COUPAL, president,

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association