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Voters Approve State and Local Affordable Housing and Minimum Wage Initiatives

I voted! Housing and the ElectionVoters in states and jurisdictions across the country cast ballots on November 8 on a number of affordable housing initiatives aimed at combating the housing affordability crisis and alleviating poverty. A significant number of the initiatives passed.

Voters in Alameda County, Santa Clara County, and Los Angeles County, CA, and Portland, OR passed initiatives to raise property taxes modestly to generate revenues to finance affordable housing developments. Residents of Santa Monica, CA voted for a proposal to increase sales taxes by half a cent to raise revenue for affordable housing.

Propositions were approved in Berkeley and Los Angeles County, CA and Detroit, MI to increase taxes on multi-unit property owners and developers, the new revenue to be used for low-income housing.

Voters in Mountain View and Richmond, CA passed initiatives to expand rent controls, but similar propositions failed in Alameda County and Burlingame, CA. In Baltimore, MD residents passed a proposal to establish an affordable housing trust fund to alleviate housing cost burdens for very low-income families. 

Voters in Asheville and Greensboro, NC passed initiatives to allocate significant percentages of their annual transportation budgets to expand the development of affordable housing. And voters in Rhode Island passed a $50 million Housing Opportunity Bond initiative to establish statewide housing programs.

Maine, Arizona, Colorado, and Washington also passed laws to increase their state minimum wages. All four states will increase their minimum wages to at least $12 an hour by 2020. Washington voted to raise its minimum wage to $13.50 an hour, while Colorado pegged its minimum wage to the cost of living after reaching $12 an hour in 2020.

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