Job Killer AB 68 Would Exacerbate Housing Crisis, Eliminate Construction Jobs

2023 Job KillersA bill that quashes housing was tagged yesterday as a job killer by the California Chamber of Commerce. AB 68 (Ward; D-San Diego) worsens California’s existing housing crisis by preventing local governments from permitting new housing units in most of their jurisdictions.

“AB 68 would mandate exclusionary land use policies, which will further restrict housing supply, raise costs and prices of homes, further inequality, undermine employers’ ability to recruit for jobs, and disproportionately hurt rural California,” said CalChamber Vice President of Advocacy Adam Regele. “AB 68 is not the solution to California’s housing crisis – it will make things worse.”

If enacted, AB 68 would prevent local governments from exercising their land-use authority to permit new housing construction in counties that the bill claims are not “climate smart parcels,” despite the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) recognition to the contrary of projects that this bill would prohibit.

AB 68 is also opposed by the California Business Industry Association (CBIA) which has labeled the bill a Housing Killer.

According to a letter sent by CalChamber to the author, AB 68 pre-determines that only a small fraction of available land in California is suitable for housing and that the vast majority of remaining California land is off limits, no matter how thorough the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review is or how sustainable the project.

The letter also points out that AB 68 likely creates constitutional issues including violations of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 19 of the California Constitution. AB 68 would invite billions of dollars in liability for the state.

“California is deeply mired in a housing crisis driven by lack of affordability and supply,” said Regele. “It is imperative that the Legislature bring more housing into the market at all levels, in communities of all types. Unfortunately, AB 68 is a proposal that will exacerbate housing scarcity, raise housing costs and reduce opportunities for residents to work and raise their families here. It is a job killer because it will eliminate construction jobs and minimize the ability of workers in all sectors of the economy to be employed here.”

Staff Contact: Adam Regele

Adam Regele
Adam Regele joined the CalChamber in April 2018 as a policy advocate specializing in environmental policy, housing and land use, and product regulation issues. He was named a senior policy advocate in April 2021, and promoted to vice president of advocacy and strategic partnerships in March 2023. He came to the CalChamber after practicing law at Oakland-based Meyers, Nave, Riback, Silver & Wilson, PLC, where he advised private and public clients on complex projects involving land use and environmental laws and regulations at the local, state and federal levels. Before entering private practice, Regele served as a federal judicial law clerk to the Honorable Edward J. Davila of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. Regele earned a B.S. in environmental science at the University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. from UC Hastings College of Law, where he was symposium editor and research and development editor for the Hastings West-Northwest Journal. See full bio.