League of Women Voters of California
Use of TORCA tax revenues for low income housing
City of Santa Monica
Charter Amendment - Majority Approval Required
12,989 / 50.55% Yes votes ...... 12,708 / 49.45% No votes
Index of all Measures
|Results as of Nov 26 10:38am, 100.00% of Precincts Reporting ( 66/ 66)|
|Information shown below: Yes/No Meaning | Impartial Analysis | Arguments ||
Shall the City Charter be amended to eliminate the restriction on the percentage of TORCA tax revenues that can be used to develop or subsidize low income housing so that any portion of the TORCA revenues, except those used for administrative costs, can be used for low income housing?
The TORCA tax is collected on each apartment converted to a condominium. The tax is equal to twelve times the Maximum Allowable Rent for the unit at the time the tax is paid, which is either when the subdivision map is approved or when the unit is sold. Originally, TORCA tax revenues could only be used to help households in converted units purchase or improve their units, with revenue expenditures to be equally divided between low and moderate income households. As originally restricted, the TORCA tax revenues were underutilized; and, over the years, the voters amended the City Charter twice to expand the allowable use of the revenues.
At present, half of the TORCA tax revenues can be used to assist the City or a nonprofit housing development corporation to purchase, acquire, rehabilitate, construct, finance or subsidize low income housing. The other half of the TORCA tax revenues must be used for the purchase, rehabilitation, or lease of converted units. The number of tenants seeking City loans to purchase converted units has dwindled. Therefore, as presently restricted the TORCA revenues remain underutilized.
The proposed measure would eliminate the present restrictions on the use of TORCA revenues, allowing all of the revenues to be used for low and moderate income housing. However, the revenues could still be used for the purchase, improvement or lease of converted units.
The proposed amendment would also eliminate the requirement that the tax proceeds designated for funding TORCA conversions must be equally divided between low and moderate income households.
|Arguments For Measure KK||Arguments Against Measure KK|
|In 1990 and in 1992 Santa Monica voters wisely added flexibility to the
TORCA tax fund because the original loan plan wasn't working, and
precious housing funds remained unused. Santa Monicans wanted their
housing money to be used for needed affordable housing and not just sit
in bank accounts.
The Santa Monica Housing Committee has determined that improvements are again necessary. Over 4.5 million unused dollars should be put to use with streamlined home ownership loans and freed up for desperately needed affordable rental housing.
Measure KK does not end the TORCA loan program. Under the Housing Commission's recommendation, the program would become more attractive to potential borrowers.
The loan program was designed in the 1980s when the marketplace was very different. Nothing the City can do will change the fact that real estate prices are going up. Measure KK allows the City to adjust the uses of housing dollars to meet demands of residents as they change over time. It makes sense to adjust for today's demands.
Official ballot arguments in support of Measure KK are signed by:
We believe Santa Monica should do more to help residents become homeowners. The Democratic Party, the Republican Party, and the Green Party ALL support homeownership assistance.
The ONLY fund dedicated for homeownership is the $4.5 million in this TORCA Homeownership Fund. On the other hand, for subsidized low-income rental housing there are literally tens of millions of dollars available from Federal, State, and City sources.
The so-called "flexibility" our opponents propose is simply a smoke screen to drain the Homeownership Fund into subsidized low-income rentals. This is an unbalanced housing policy, which is unfair to the residents who want to become homeowners.
Realizing the overwhelming sentiment of most of us for homeownership the proponents claim to have recently "streamlined" the TORCA loan program. Great! We agree this money should not sit in a bank account. It should be used to help you with the down payment for a home.
Let's give the new "streamlining" an opportunity to work! There are hundreds of people waiting for these loans.
Keep the TORCA funds exclusively for homeowner loans. Low, moderate and middle-income residents should be allowed to be owners if that is their choice.
STOP THE RAID ON HOMEOWNERSHIP LOAN FUNDS!
PROTECT YOUR DOWNPAYMENT FUND!
|Measure KK allows the city to drain money out of the TORCA Homeownership
Fund and effectively terminate the program. The Homeownership Fund is
the only fund which provides down payment assistance to help Santa
Monica residents become homeowners. The so-called 'flexibility'
proposed is simply a smokescreen to drain the Homeownership Fund into
subsidized low-income rentals.
This is an unbalanced housing policy which is unfair to the residents who want to become homeowners. There are hundreds of people waiting for these loans. Low, moderate and middle-income residents should be allowed to be owners if that is their choice.
There has been no community pressure to change the use of this money from the purpose mandated by the voters.
Due to red tape, bureaucracy and deliberate neglect, the city made only nine loans in the first 10 years of TORCA. To date only 51 tenants have managed to receive loans out of the hundreds that tried. We agree this money should not sit in a bank account. It should be used to help you with the down payment for a home.
Official ballot arguments in opposition to Measure KK are signed by:
Under Measure KK, TORCA funds will still be used to assist low-income home buyers. In fact, the City recently made substantial improvements to the program to increase the number of loans made.
But nothing the City can do will change the fact that real estate prices are going up, making the cost of purchasing much higher. Because there are fewer units available at affordable prices, there is less demand for loans. Therefore, even with recent improvements, many of these existing housing funds are likely to remain unused.
Measure KK allows the City to adjust the uses of these housing dollars to meet demands of residents as they change over time. The loan program was designed in the 1980s, when the marketplace was very different. It makes sense to adjust for today's demands.
Because Measure KK maintains the requirement that these funds be used for housing, these dollars cannot be diverted for other purposes.
The Santa Monica Housing Commission -- comprised entirely of Santa Monica residents who volunteer their time -- unanimously requested Measure KK. The Commissioners made this request after thorough analysis and public discussion.
Measure KK does not raise taxes. It allows existing housing funds to be used for today's critical housing demands.
It makes sense to make the best use of unused housing money.
Vote YES on Measure KK.