Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Rescind Egregiously Stupid Tax - San Diego Linkage Fee

Rare is the day when we have the ability to directly rebuke the stupidity of our city council; but that day would be today.  Two months ago I pointed out the uselessness of linkage fees in alleviating affordable housing problems, even if that is the stated purpose of the tax.  Felipe Monroig of the SD County Taxpayer's Association showed that most of the money actually goes to helping the homeless through "transitional" housing assistance,  a large disconnect from helping the "working poor" finding affordable housing.  Meanwhile, the fee has a negative impact on development by raising "linkage fee" taxes paid by developers by over 350%.

But there is still time to kill this tax, former Mayor, Jerry Sanders, writes in the Pomerado News:
We have less than a month — until January 23 — to collect 34,000 valid signatures of voters living in the City of San Diego. Once we do, the council will have to rescind its ill-conceived decision or put the issue before voters in June 2014.
. . .
This jobs-killer also is a zombie tax because it will continue to automatically increase year after year without any review or approval by elected officials.
His article links to the Stop the Jobs Tax web site, which gives information on how to sign the petition and of course, how to donate.  They also debunk some myths about the tax.
Despite numerous requests for information to verify this claim [that the money is leverage with federal and state dollars], the proponents of the jobs tax have provided little statistical data to support this claim. Additionally, the annual revenue estimated from this tax is too small to make much of a difference. In fiscal year 2013, for example, less than $1 million was raised.  Even the Housing Commission acknowledged that at projected peak revenue, the tax would only provide 100 homes a year noting that over 45,000 people are waiting for subsidized housing.
. . .
According to many economists, San Diego is already at a competitive disadvantage, and this tax increase makes it even more difficult to create and attract new jobs. In fact, San Diego is the only city in the entire region that charges this kind of tax for subsidized affordable housing.  Most competitor regions across the nation do not charge this tax.
This is NOT what the linkage fees will be used for. 
(Used by permission of Mjbeal  [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

But the bottom line is that restrictive land use policies decrease the availability of housing which in turns drives up prices and makes it less affordable.  Nothing short of allowing more housing development is going to make a dent in the affordable housing problem in San Diego.  It's a good day when we can directly challenge the collective ridiculousness of a leftist shakedown.

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