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Tacoma Housing Levy

by Urban E
on 12/11/2009 @ 1:06pm
Recently after a partner in a project could no longer hold up their end of the deal I find myself searching for a new one in the worst recession in 40yrs. It got me to thinkin! Why doesn't Tacoma have a Housing Levy to help provide affordable housing. I notice there's lot of talk and meetings/time wasting about providing housing but has none of our past/current leaders ever even proposed it. Would my fellow citizens even support such a thing. Of course we would include the starving artist in there.

by Urban E on 12/11/2009 @ 9:39am
Isn't that being planned in the Brewery District and only a stones throw from the Rescue Mission. Now thats planning!

by NineInchNachos on 12/11/2009 @ 1:09pm
the time is nigh for an INTERNATIONAL STARVING ARTIST DISTRICT downtown.

by Erik on 12/11/2009 @ 3:07pm
Why doesn't Tacoma have a Housing Levy to help provide affordable housing

They tried to pass one once in Tacoma but it failed by a significant margin.

by Urban E on 12/11/2009 @ 3:46pm
Thanks E. I found it. Barsma,Anderson,Lonergan,and Talbert tried to pass one back in 05. Seems like we're missing out on something that could help get some development going. Maybe our new council will try again now that home prices have been slashed and property taxes have been coming down.

by NineInchNachos on 12/11/2009 @ 3:48pm
they should try it again. I bet Strickland & Marty would go for it.

by Erik on 12/11/2009 @ 8:49pm
Thanks E. I found it. Barsma,Anderson,Lonergan,and Talbert tried to pass one back in 05.

The local housing authorities and non-profits seem to be flush with money the last few years in the construction of Salishan and other projects being built. They are the only ones who seem to be building anything these days.

I doubt Tacoma taxpayers would impose a tax on themselves given the state of the economy and the anti tax rhetoric. It will be a challenge just to try to pass the school levy.

by Non Sequitur on 12/11/2009 @ 8:56pm
perhaps the City should just outlaw poverty, much like Redmond did. Make it illegal to earn below the poverty line, and voila! Those that don't flee to Parkland and Federal Way will get complimentary room and board @ 930 Tacoma Ave.

by Urban E on 12/11/2009 @ 9:00pm
Not sure I agree Erik. Maybe back in 05 with prices rising so fast it could have scared people. Every dollar counted towards the mortgage back then. What if they only allowed the funds to be used in the mixed-use centers?

by fredo on 12/11/2009 @ 11:35pm
Property taxes and housing affordability enjoy an inverse relationship. In other words, as taxes on property go up the affordability of housing goes down.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 12/12/2009 @ 7:04pm
Interesting thinking, fredo. A good many condos were sold with 10 year tax abatements. Basically zero taxes for 10 years. Sadly many of them went unsold. You'd think with zero taxes people would have been snapping up these condos like there was no tomorrow. Given that most buyers wouldn't be living in the condo in 10 years you'd think this would be the affordable housing deal of the century.

by Mofo from the Hood on 12/12/2009 @ 9:41pm
Tax abatements on housing are little more than a marketing gimmick to serve the developer. Basically they allow the developer to increase profit by raising unit pricing.

The same type of gimmick has been used in private employment hiring. The employer offers health benefits (and files an employer tax deduction), and the employee works for a lower wage (and gives up a personal tax deduction).

If you really think that you need to own a single family house and your finances are skim, then consider looking at the program that Habitat for Humanity offers.

by fredo on 12/12/2009 @ 10:17pm
Crenshaw, I have to agree with Mofo. The "abatement" is entirely illusory. If there were two identical condominium units across the street from one another and one had an abatement worth $30K over the course of 10 years, that unit would likely have an asking price about $30K higher. Developers aren't stupid.

If you really think you need to own a single family house and your finances are skim, then consider befriending a heavily propertied elderly widow with no heirs and have her sign a durable power of attorney placing you in charge of her affairs.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 12/12/2009 @ 11:19pm
Any public official that voted in a property tax abatement should be removed from office. I've made the same point about tax abatements before. How about real estate commissions as being part of the unaffordable housing problem. 6 percent each time a house turns over adds up quite a bit over the years. When I go to sell a house I sure as heck am going to reflect the agent's commission in the price of the house. Looks to me the real estate professionals are doing even better than our local governments in revenues generated.

by Urban E on 12/13/2009 @ 7:40am
CS, I don't really see commissions as being a part of the problem but then I'm a little biased on that one. Although I would say that during the glory days 2000-early 08 it was like taking candy from a baby. Things are different now and RE pros are working a lot harder spending more time on the road and using a lot more fuel showing a lot of bank owned crap that are 20-30% cheaper with a ton of more restrictions (appraisals, financing).

Fredo and Mofo, ya'll is way smarter than I is BUT moving forward with these same condo's prices being reset (Marcato,Esplanade) the abatement seems to be helping put the existing condo market back in line where it should be ,"Cheaper than a single family home".

I'm just feelin a little more open to levys (school or otherwise) now that there will be a more controlled increase in the future value of homes. When there was no end in site that meant no end in site for levy allocations.

by fredo on 12/13/2009 @ 7:58am
"I'm just feeling a little more open to levys" urban

Urban, send a check to the city treasurer as a gift and see if that feeling goes away.

by Urban E on 12/13/2009 @ 9:43am
lol. maybe I'm just feeling generous because of the city's new wage and comp study.

by fredo on 12/13/2009 @ 10:05am
Urban-I don't know anything about the city's new "wage & comp study." Can you provide a link?

Crenshaw I'm very interested in your theory about real estate commissions being reflected in property valuations. If a person is selling a $300K home through an agent and wants the buyer to cover the commission then he might price the home at $320K. If it sells at that price then, it seems to me, that the recorded sale price would be $320K. The excise tax to the city would be based on this figure and the county would provide this figure to people searching for comps. This would tend to support your theory wouldn't it?

Another property tax problem I see is the fact that appliances, drapery, etc. are not supposed to be included in property valuations but frequently condominiums and other new homes are sold with complete kitchens. Some of these kitchens feature commercial quality appliances worth thousands of dollars. Aren't such improvements incorrectly included in the excise & property taxes on the property? Just asking, I'm not a real estate person.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 12/13/2009 @ 1:50pm
You are right, fredo. You take a look at a typical new condo and house today and you are paying a 30 year mortgage on stuff like granite countertops and stainless steel appliances and that is just absurd.

by Urban E on 12/13/2009 @ 3:53pm
No sorry Fredo I can not because it doesn't exist. I can tell you that from the info I'm aware of most represented positions for 09 the raises are coming in at around 10-14.9 % to bring those positions to market. I have found it interesting that in the resolutions the % of the raise is not listed, only that the raise is to bring it up to the 70th percentile of the market.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 12/13/2009 @ 6:18pm
10-14 percent raises in a market where there is 10 percent unemployment? Do these city employees think they can do better on the outside? I'm for a guy making a buck and a good buck at that but I'm not seeing any city employees fleeing the bosom of city employment to try their chances elsewhere. Give me a break. What is this, some scam so that ultimately the fat cats in city government raise their salaries even higher?

by L.S.Erhardt on 12/13/2009 @ 8:30pm
If possible, do business without a realtor. You'll save $THOUSANDS. Why anyone would voluntarily pay like 6% on top of $100,000+ is beyond me.

by fredo on 12/14/2009 @ 10:02am
Urban-could you put your posting of 12/13 3:53pm in layman's terms? I'm sorry, I couldn't follow it.