Editor:

Dear City Council,

I hope you do not even consider an additional property tax for affordable housing (“Time to put money where your mouth is,” June 5). Homeowners are already hit with huge taxes. I believe any property tax which is put on a ballot should be passed by a majority of those that have to pay. That would mean renters cannot force taxes on those of us who have to pay them. How undemocratic; allow people who don’t pay for something to vote on it. Isn’t that taxation without representation?

Given 70 percent of our residents are renters, how about for a change we have a renter’s tax? There are more of them and a smaller individual tax could actually raise more money. I’m willing to bet that all of those renters who are so enthusiastic about parcel taxes wouldn’t be quite happy to vote for a tax they had to pay directly. It might be a better indicator of the true values of the community.

That being said, I’ve heard enough about affordable housing. It was a nice idea when we had the redevelopment funds. Just as they are gone, the idea of the city’s taxpayers footing the bill for affordable housing should be abolished too. We have a hard enough time just paying for our own housing.

Affordability is not achieved by subsidies. It is a supply [and] demand issue. If you limit supply, then of course housing in a desirable area is going to be expensive. By requiring 30 percent of the housing to be affordable, you’ve just cut the availability of market rate by 30 percent and you drive up the prices.

In a city where the average single-family home is probably valued near $1 million or more, it would appear that rent control and affordable housing have failed. Santa Monica is one of the few areas that has these policies, but we’re also probably the most expensive city to live in the region. We have limited the supply and high prices are the result. If our current policies continue, we will end up with a city of extremely wealthy people (who will probably get fed up with it and move) and people living on public benefits. Let’s just try to make it fair for the average person. Increased taxes just makes living here less and less possible.

 

Linda Fineman

Santa Monica

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