A Feint at Affordable Housing

The Boulder Daily Camera reports this morning that the Affordable Housing Task Force, formed in January 2010, will present it’s draft report for public feedback on Tuesday (Aug 30). Already leaked is the proposal to raise taxes to subsidize housing — from Angelique Espinoza, a member of the task force, “Without broader funding, it’s going to be very difficult to make significant improvements to the program.”

At first this seems like a failure of the imagination (seriously, the only thing you can think of is to raise taxes?) but given that the task force was constructed to represent all interests, rather than to be able to find a collaborative solution, it really is a failure of political nerve.

There’s no mention (so far, to be fair) of changes in zoning laws to¬† require smaller homes, no stated intention to increase legal occupancy limits, no apparent effort at all, in fact, to make substantial changes in the structure of the housing market, and no wonder — real estate and developer interests won’t countenance anything that threatens to lower housing prices and so threatens the level of their income, and since housing prices and housing costs are the same thing, the option of taking steps to reduce housing costs never even can come up. So there’s one option left — raise taxes.

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