LETTER: Property tax would hurt many in Jefferson but benefit few

‘No’ on tax

It is not true that a regressive tax that hurts low-income homeowners is the only way to raise funds for affordable housing in Jefferson County.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reports that 25 percent of owner-occupied households in Jefferson County — 3,015 households — pay over 30 percent of income for housing.

About 750 very low-income households pay more than 50 percent.

These families have little to no disposable income to pay higher taxes.

Prop 1 adds to the frightening struggle they face next year when the huge McCleary tax increase hits.

The costs of Prop 1 may be trivial to some, but for these people, it means a week of groceries, propane, medicine or a child’s winter clothes.

Prop 1 proponents know there is another way.

We have their Seattle consultant’s report.

They considered seeking an increase in the real estate excise tax but for purely political purposes went for a property tax hike, according to the report.

The real estate excise tax in Port Townsend is 0.5 percent.

An increase could take advantage of rising real estate prices at the market’s high end.

At 1.5 percent (Friday Harbor’s rate), the sale of a $3 million house could generate $45,000 for affordable housing.

When you hear Prop 1 supporters say it is necessary to hurt our less-fortunate neighbors, please know there is a progressive alternative.

Hurting many people to help a few is no solution.

Please vote no.

Jim Scarantino,

Port Townsend

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