02/28/2006: "Increase Sales Tax To Pay For Housing"
To the Editor:
The proposed real estate excise tax to fund affordable housing is a bad tax to help fund a noble objective. The issue of affordable housing is a county wide issue, and to expect to fund it on the backs of a very few is just plain wrong.
A far more wide ranging funding idea would be to increase the sales tax by 1/2% for a finite period of time, say 5 to 7 years This is a tax burden that would be borne by all the residents of the county; as it should be for such an important social issue.
The second biggest impediment, after the down payment, for a purchaser of average means in this county, is the 1% land bank tax. Now the CC is saying in order to assist those who qualify for affordable housing, they want to raise the excise tax burden by 1/2%. It really makes sense to make it harder to purchase a home for those people you are trying to help. Not! A far better ballot measure would be one to bring an end to the land bank. This is an entity that has served its purpose and needs to be put to rest.
By eliminating this governmental department, you will reduce the hard cash needs of the average home buyer by $2,500 to $3,000. A reduction in permitting fees for affordable housing construction could also reduce the costs of those dwellings by several thousands of dollars.
In May, vote no on this poorly though out tax, and then urge your CC representative to look at, and adopt ideas that will truly make affordable housing possible in San Juan County.