As the housing policy debate escalates and various solutions are proposed, costs become an inescapable topic of discussion. Linkage of construction wage standards to streamlined residential project approvals processes quickly became a particular focus of attention in 2016. The California Economic Summit argues that it is unlikely that elevated wage standards could have major impacts on total housing costs, given that construction labor comprises only 14 percent of total California housing costs. The preponderance of academic research on prevailing wage standards cost impacts has found no significant overall impacts on the construction of nonresidential structures.
CHC Policy Director Marina Wiant’s comments explore the newest set of data from the Census Bureau’s supplementary poverty measure – which takes into account housing costs. When housing costs are accounted for, California’s poverty rate surges from 15 to 20% – the highest in the nation. Her comments were aired across the state from Los Angeles to Sacramento & Monterey to Fresno. Here is a snippet of her remarks shown on NBC 24 (Fresno)