Mayor Lee is planning to ask the Board of Supervisors for approval to put a $200 million housing bond on the November ballot, writes Bloomberg. No need to mention the affordability crisis, which the measure would seek to address, renovating and building homes for middle- and low-income families. If approved, it would be the first such housing bond since 1996.
Christine Falvey, a spokesperson for Lee, said that as opposed to similar proposals rejected by voters in 2002 and 2004, this housing bond plan wouldn't affect an increase in property taxes. Nonetheless, general-obligation bond measures need two-thirds approval, something policy organization SPUR emphasizes won't be easy. “It’s very difficult to get past the two-thirds threshold,” said executive director Gabriel Metcalf. “Most people don’t get to live in affordable housing, so it’s a case where we’re asking the voters to do something that is altruistic.”
In a similar move, voters approved a $500 million transportation bond last November. As they are sure to this time, Lee’s administration promoted the plan by emphasizing that it wouldn’t raise property taxes. San Francisco is required to retire old debt before issuing new bonds so that property taxes don’t go up per a 10-year capital plan that dates to 2006.
According to Michael Johnson, managing partner at Gurtin Fixed Income Management, San Francisco general-obligation bonds “are attractive to investors who are looking for high credit quality.” Chris Morgan, director of U.S. local government at Standard & Poor’s in San Francisco, said that our “budget has the capacity to absorb additional debt without necessarily affecting credit quality.”