Letter: Affordable housing — vote no | PostIndependent.com

Letter: Affordable housing — vote no

Grace Stahlschmidt
Glenwood Springs

The Aspen School District model for affordable housing included in the $122 million bond issue and corresponding tax increase as part of 3B is wrong for Glenwood Springs and RE-1. We are not Aspen. This is not a question of taxing billionaires to provide affordable housing for government and teachers. This proposal taxes small business owners, struggling families, construction workers, mechanics, accountants and retired people in order to build or buy government housing for government employees.

Government employees, including school district staff and teachers, have many benefits, including paid or heavily subsidized pensions, health care, sick leave and paid vacations. Local government jobs, especially the school district, have historically been some of the best, most stable and highest-paid jobs in the lower valley. Asking those of more modest means who do not enjoy the benefits and stability of government employment or retirement to pay for government employee housing is a bad idea.

The affordable housing initiative misses the point. Only a small number of young adults who grow up here are able to stay. Most will move away after graduation to find opportunities for further education, jobs and affordable housing that simply do not exist here. Likewise, many older citizens of Glenwood Springs have found it impossible to remain in the community that they spent their entire lives building. We need to find opportunities to retain our best and our brightest and allow others to age in place. That creates a greater sense of community — not government housing.

The $15 million for affordable housing cannot stand on merit and would not pass on its own. Bundling inappropriate, unnecessary and excessive components with necessary items is a cheap political trick. We are expected to hold our noses and vote for the whole package. If we do, excessive and frivolous items will only be worse on the next bond issue.

A tax watchdog group is necessary to emphasize fiscal responsibility and oversight for local taxes and bond issues.

Vote No on 3B. Voters can demand fiscal responsibility.


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