Out of all the basic needs that a person has, none is more important than housing. Everyone needs a place to come home to at the end of the night.
We don’t have to look far here in Vancouver to see how the houseless problem a few miles south in Portland has gotten worse over the last few years. Looking north, Washington’s largest city, Seattle, we see similar issues with unsheltered people ending up on its streets.
And while we have an identity separate from those of Seattle and Portland, we can see how their housing issues directly affect us. In many ways, Vancouver has become a bedroom community for people who commute to Portland for work. Many local residents used to live in Portland but moved to Vancouver because they wanted housing that was more affordable and family friendly. All of those separate commutes then collectively cause traffic congestion, which is a problem in and of itself (and which I address in my transportation platform.
There are ways that government policies can help make housing more affordable.
One has to do with land use and zoning laws. If these laws become too stringent, it creates an artificial scarcity of developable land. The land that is available and zoned for housing then becomes unnecessarily expensive.
And land costs are only part of what ultimately becomes the sale price of a home. Various fees and permits charged by government agencies also contribute to the cost of housing. A major cost comes in the form of property taxes.
Unlike our neighbors in Oregon, residents of Washington don’t pay an income tax. That makes our government agencies more reliant on property and sales taxes to fund their operations. Property taxes are paid directly by homeowners. But renters also feel the squeeze of increases on property taxes because these increases pass on to them in the form of higher rent.
With your vote, I will address houselessness the best way I know how- by preventing it from happening in the first place with legislation that puts more resources back into our communities. Today, people have become less secure in their housing because it is more expensive due to a lack of supply and constant property tax increases. But with your voice, we can house more displaced people and keep more people housed.
We want Vancouver to remain a beautiful place where families live, work, and relax. Our city is growing rapidly, and we look to welcome that expansion with stable homes for our new and current residents. To make that happen, we need policies in place that will prevent housing from becoming more scarce or expensive than it needs to be.
As your House Legislative District 49 Representative, I will work to ensure that state government policies don’t make housing less affordable for you and your family. That includes opposing any proposals that will further limit the amount of land that housing can be built on and standing firm against the passage of higher property taxes.