SACRAMENTO – California’s poorest renters and single parents would get a healthy boost to help them pay their rent under legislation approved overwhelmingly Tuesday in the state Senate.
The bill, SB 843, approved on a 37-0 vote and sent to the Assembly, would increase the California renter’s tax credit for the first time in more than 40 years. Individuals would get $500 and single parents and couples would receive $1,000. For the first time, low-income renters would be eligible for the full credit without regard to their income tax liability.
Senators Steve Glazer, D-Contra Costa, and joint authors Maria Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles, and Sidney Kamlager, D-Los Angeles, have been joined by a coalition of more than 50 co-authors of this bill.
“This bill will provide direct help to millions of tenants who are struggling to pay their rent each month,” Senator Glazer said. “For too long, renters have been left outside as we’ve tried to build California into an inclusive home of economic opportunity. It’s time to open the door to all of them. SB 843 would do just that by increasing the renter’s tax credit for the first time in 42 years.”
In Senator Durazo’s district, 77 percent of her constituents are renters; 66 percent of Senator Kamlager’s constituents are renters.
“My district has more renters than anywhere in the state, and we know that they are hurting right now,” Senator Durazo said. “Rents are higher than ever, the cost of putting food on the table is up, and so many people are struggling to make ends meet. This renter’s tax credit will help those struggling the most and put money back in the pockets of millions of working Californians.”
The renter’s credit has not seen an increase since 1979. The proposed increase accounts for inflation since then. SB 843 provides direct help to renters – those who typically struggle the most to find affordable housing, and who have been hit hard during COVID-19.
“California’s cost of living is high, particularly for those who are hurting financially and need our help,” Senator Kamlager said. “As a joint author of SB 842, I’m proud to see the Senate vote to make our renter’s credit a reflection of today’s financial reality. Economic justice demands it.”
While California homeowners receive $4 billion in tax relief through mortgage deductions and $1.5 billion through property tax deductions, renters’ relief has been barely a blip on the radar. Renter currently receive $160 million in tax credits, according to current Franchise Tax Board estimates.
This bill would index the credit in perpetuity to account for inflation as calculated by the Franchise Tax Board. Under the legislation, the Governor could suspend the increase during an economic emergency.
The renter’s credit was established in 1972. Since its only increase in 1979, rents in California have nearly tripled. Median state rent exceeds $1,500 a month for a two-bedroom apartment, and rentals in cities like San Francisco average more than $2,700 a month.
Assembly Members Isaac Bryan, D-Los Angeles, Steven Choi, R-Irvine, and Mike Gipson, D-Carson.
Senators Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica; Bob Archuleta, D-Pico Rivera, Patricia Bates, R-Laguna Niguel; Josh Becker, D-San Mateo; Anna Caballero, D-Salinas; David Cortese, D-San Jose, Brian Dahle, R-Bieber; Bill Dodd, D-Napa; Lena Gonzalez, D-Long Beach; Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield; Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys; Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, Melissa Hurtado, D-Sanger, Brian Jones, R-Santee, John Laird, D-Santa Cruz, Connie Leyva, D-Chino; Monique Limón, D-Santa Barbara; Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore; David Min, D-Irvine, Josh Newman, D-Fullerton; Jim Nielsen, R-Red Bluff; Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh, R-Yucaipa; Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge; Richard Roth, D-Riverside; Susan Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, Henry Stern, D-Malibu; Tom Umberg, D-Santa Ana; Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont; Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco and Republican Leader Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita.
Assembly Members Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters; Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, D-Orinda; Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto; Tasha Boerner Horvath, D-Encinatas; Tom Daly, D-Anaheim; Laurie Davies, R-Laguna Niguel, Laura Friedman, D-Burbank; Jesse Gabriel, D-San Fernando Valley; James Gallagher, R-Chico; Adam Gray, D-Merced; Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale; Alex Lee, D-San Jose; Marc Levine, D-Greenbrae; Kevin Mullin, D-San Mateo, Adrin Nazarian, D-Sherman Oaks; Janet Nguyen, R-Garden Grove; Cottie Petrie-Norris D-Irvine; Robert Rivas, D-North Hollywood; Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles; Kelly Seyarto, R-Murrieta; and Thurston Smith, R-Hesperia.