Letter: Proposed housing sales tax is not enough

Editor,

Editor,

This is regarding the topic of a small sales tax to fund affordable housing in the county. This is our top priority?

Your recent article points out that affordable housing has been the top concern of politicians and Whidbey community members for the last decade. And the article explains that the proposed bill would increase a $10 bill at a shop or restaurant by 1 cent.

Housing costs went up more than ever this year. This summer, a server at a restaurant told us that staff people were having to live off the island because rents had gone so high here. It’s hard to imagine what the objections might be to such a tiny tax that would barely begin to address what is recognized and agreed is a serious concern.

A one-tenth of 1% tax is not sufficient. Let’s get serious about addressing this problem in our beautiful community. The article explained that this tax would raise about $1.2 million a year. That might cover four affordable houses. Surely we’re not thinking this is any kind of solution to what we seem to agree is our community’s highest priority. The average home sale last month in Island County was $540,000.

Let’s make the tax for affordable housing half of one percent. How many of us would even notice a 5-cent increase on a $10 bill? A $100 bill would be taxed 50 cents for affordable housing. If we can’t do that, I have to suspect we’re not serious about what we’re saying is our top priority.

Timothy Hickey

Oak Harbor