(Tri-Area Times) Placing a property tax levy on the November ballot to fund "affordable" housing, without fixing the causes of this problem, is shear folly. Declaring a housing emergency so the one percent limit on property taxes can be exceeded to "solve" problems caused by the County is totally unacceptable. Subsidizing housing does not make it affordable. It just shifts the bill to the taxpayers.
The zoning, building codes, regulations and permit processes that Jefferson County has imposed on our business operations, company facilities and housing, are among the most restrictive and costly in Washington State. They must be fixed.
Affordability is a balance between cost and ability to pay. So it is clear that jobs are a major part of the equation. Without well paying jobs, housing will never be affordable.
Those who think subsidized housing will give people "dignity" must think they are living in the land of OZ where the Wizard can pass out certificates or medals and give people "dignity". Real respect and dignity only comes from what an individual has achieved through their own efforts.
Other Fatal Flaws in this Plan
The seven-year limit on the life of this levy is illusionary. Without fixing the underlying problems, housing will never be affordable and some people will be addicted to this handout forever.
An unintended consequence of this tax is to make existing housing less affordable. This will cause elderly people on limited budgets to have to sell their homes. It will also cause renters to face increased rents, as property owners have to pass on the increased tax burden to renters.
We should ask why the Department of Health is being appointed to administer this fund. Are the county commissioners telling us that the Department of Community Development, who has been responsible for regulating all building, is not sufficiently competent to handle housing construction? Are they telling us that they want staff, who are used to having the government take care of people, to handle the redistribution of other peoples money? Or both?
The list of allowed grant recipients includes private profit making companies. Why not fix the underlying problems so the private sector can handle housing without using taxpayers' money?
Other funds likely to be leveraged by these funds are more taxpayer dollars filtered through state and federal agencies.
Almost all of those arguing in favor of passing this levy are either potential grant recipients or subsidy beneficiaries.
No drug testing or plans to help subsidy recipients progress to becoming self-sufficient.
The board administering the fund is to be totally composed of un-elected individuals.
Very loose constrains on this fund make it ripe for kickbacks, graft, waste, fraud, abuse, corruption and political payoffs.
Calling the funds raised a "Home Opportunity Fund", and claiming that this is not "government housing", appear to be attempts to disguise what is clearly taxpayer subsidized housing.
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