The Coloradans take over the accommodation with initiative

The Coloradans take over the accommodation with initiative

Colorado Housing Ballot Initiative (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Colorado Housing Ballot Initiative (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Tired of skyrocketing home prices, the Coloradans are taking matters into their own hands with a November voting initiative that would direct a portion of state income taxes towards affordable housing projects.

With the nationwide housing crisis escalating, Colorado’s Proposition 123 is the country’s first statewide housing initiative to vote for the 2022 election, according to a database of voting measures maintained by the National Conference of Legislatures state.

“We’ve reached a tipping point and we can’t keep waiting on the sidelines and hoping for something to happen,” Jackie Millet, mayor of the Denver suburb of Lone Tree, told Aurora Tuesday at a campaign launch event.

If the measure passes, it will direct 0.1% of Colorado’s income taxes to a range of programs that include helping essential workers, such as teachers and nurses, become homeowners, financially supporting local governments in increasing 3% the number of affordable homes each year.

The campaign says the measure could raise around $ 300,000 annually and build 170,000 homes and rental units over two decades, with the aim of giving local governments the ability to decide how best to spend the money raised by the measure.

Recent data from the US Census Bureau found that Colorado faces a shortage of approximately 225,000 homes.

Proponents said Proposition 123 could help close that deficit by avoiding a tax hike.

But the money is also expected to go into tax refunds granted to residents under a constitutional amendment called the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. The Colorado TABOR limits the amount of money the government can spend each year and requires reimbursement of any income that exceeds that limit.

Any changes to the TABOR must be approved by the voters.

“There is nothing profitable about taking $ 300 million in our TABOR tax refunds for a faulty housing measure,” said Michael Fields, senior advisor to Advance Colorado Action, a conservative advocacy group. Fields added that “no one really knows how many new units this measure would create.”

Supporters are optimistic that the proposal is approved, believing that the increase in rents and house values ​​caused by the pandemic will encourage the Coloradans of any political party to vote for the initiative.

A Colorado Health Foundation survey suggests 86% of Coloradans said housing costs are a serious concern.

“State by state, we can do more,” said Julie Gonzales, Democratic state senator and supporter of the initiative. You added that the federal government must also step forward.

Jordan McDonald, a certified nursing assistant, said she and her husband, who is a teacher, have not been able to find an affordable home like they expect their first daughter.

According to an August report from the Keystone Policy Center, fewer than a fifth of homes in the state in 2021 were accessible on the average salary of a teacher in their respective district.

“We need more of our elected officials to come forward on this issue,” McDonald said.

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Jesse Bedayn is a body member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to report on hidden issues. Follow Bedayn on Twitter.

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