By Doug DeFilipps
The Beaverton City Council is considering exempting non-profit organizations that open new affordable housing units from paying the city’s property tax. An associate planner for the city said that “affordable units [are] going to be a major challenge in the future” because “[t]he housing market is tight, and a lot of affordable units in Beaverton are occupied by residents who could pay more but opt for cheaper housing.”
If the goal is affordable housing, then the city should ease the tax and regulatory burden on all development and businesses. That way it would be easier for developers to build new housing, and housing would become more affordable. If a major cause of the lack of affordable housing is “people who could pay more but opt for cheaper housing,” then it makes sense to try to give everyone more, less expensive options.
Developers of affordable housing should not be given special treatment. Why should other developers, not to mention businesses and residents, be taxed more than these affordable housing groups? Why should they be forced to make up the shortfall?
Government entities, including the Beaverton City Council, have an obligation to treat all citizens and businesses fairly and equally, and not to pick favorites.
Doug DeFilipps is a research associate at Cascade Policy Institute. He is a graduate of Santa Clara University.