By Christina B. Farnsworth. The importance of housing and the defeat of "dream-killer bills" were the focus of building industry participants as they rallied at the state capitol in Sacramento, Calif.

The California BIA held its sixth annual rally May 14. Some 650 builders, subcontractors, and others affiliated with home building gathered to remind assembly members of the importance of housing.

Housing's profound effect on the California economy was documented this year in "The Economic Benefits of Housing in California," prepared by the Sacramento Regional Institute. The study, a joint venture of the Sacramento Area Commerce amp; Trade Organization and California State University, Sacramento, details the more than $40 billion housing generates annually. Housing also accounts for 369,000 jobs in the state and for 3 percent of the state's economy. "If we were building the homes Californians need," CBIA public affairs director and spokesperson John Frith says, "it would generate an additional $30 billion a year to the economy and generate $1.4 billion in additional state tax revenue."

Frith says the rally's purpose is to decry legislative attempts to pass what he calls dream-killer bills, such as a proposed penny-a-board-foot tax that would tax the lumber used to build a home. There are approximately 16,000 board feet of lumber in a new home.

Rally attendees met with roughly 50 of the 120 assembly members.

Though the event generated no media coverage, it was still worthwhile, Frith says. It's one thing for legislators to be contacted by lobbyists but quite another when contacted by constituents from their own districts.