In this episode of Adventures in Wealth Redistribution…
On February 6, a ballot initiative was proposed in Seattle to create an excess compensation payroll tax to fund “social housing” in the Emerald City. (“Wizard of Oz” comparison duly noted.) The initiative would levy a payroll tax on Seattle employers with workers who make more than $1 million a year, which would fund the program that would be available to all regardless of income.
The initiative, proposed by House Our Neighbors, would use revenue from the additional five percent tax to fund the project. The House Our Neighbors website describes the group’s mission statement thusly:
House Our Neighbors envisions a future where all people can afford to live and thrive in vibrant, cohesive, and climate-resilient communities. To achieve this, we develop, advocate, and mobilize for policy to realize social housing for the residents of Seattle and beyond.
Translation: blatant wealth redistribution to push blatant socialism on an already out-of-control Democrat city.
On February 14, 2023, Seattle voted to create a social housing developer by a 14 percent margin. The February 6 ballot initiative intends to fund the social housing developer.
The organization’s working definition of social housing is housing that is removed from market speculation, is publicly owned and funded, and is available to people without income restrictions.
Rent rates at social housing units would ideally be no more than 30% of the household’s income, according to House Our Neighbors. So if a tenant were to make more money, then said tenant would see their rent adjusted to continue to match the 30% rate. There is no time limit on how long a tenant can stay at a social housing unit.
The two dominant forms of housing in Seattle are affordable housing and housing from the private sector. Tiffani McCoy, policy and advocacy director at House Our Neighbors, notes that affordable housing is overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
McCoy told The Center Square that “social housing” would fill a “huge gap.”
Social housing is filling this huge gap – not just in terms of keeping public money in public hands, but also allowing higher incomes to be brought in. We know folks in the 80%—120% area median income [range] are rent burdened and are being priced out of our cities.
A couple of questions, Ms. McCoy.
First, do you know why people are being priced out of your city and other out-of-control Democrat-run cities? Second, why is it the job of companies with high-wage earners, and those wage earners themselves, to pay for Democrat initiative after Democrat initiative? Spoiler: It isn’t.
House Our Neighbors estimates that the social housing payroll tax would generate $52 million annually and could fund 2,000 social housing units in the city over ten years.
In other exciting Seattle news, the city announced on Friday that it will spend $1.8 million to construct an all-gender bathroom facility near the waterfront. The facility will consist of six individual all-gender stalls — at $300,000 per stall. No, really.
Angela Brady, director of the Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects, said in a statement that the waterfront park “will attract many thousands of visitors from around the world.”
The restrooms are expected to be open to the public by early 2025.
The Bottom Line
Money might not grow on trees, but fear not my Democrat friends; your party has never seen wealth it didn’t try to redistribute.
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