The advantages of the mill levy proposed by the Chaffee Housing Authority over a sales tax increase for Chaffee residents are unmistakably clear.
The mill levy will provide the Housing Authority with a steady, and most importantly, predictable income stream to support their long-term efforts to accomplish measurable results in housing development, access, and stabilization for our workforce and seniors. Sales tax revenues, obviously, fluctuate depending on season and purchasing. A sales tax will absolutely increase the cost of living for all full-time residents.
The mill levy will apply universally to all properties in Chaffee, including the nearly 30 percent of homes that are second and third homes where owners visit infrequently or rarely. These owners contribute little to the overall sales tax economy. Of note is that second and third homeowners will pay a significant portion of a mill levy because the mill levy is based on property valuation.
The mill levy increases monthly real estate taxes an estimated $10/month for most. Increasing sales tax increases the cost of everything else and is regressive.
Renters will be affected. Landlords will necessarily need to calculate this increase into their rents, but are not obligated to jack the rents up beyond this amount, although many think they will. Additional housing will help to mitigate the low- and no-vacancy in rentals that currently exist and help employers address the critical shortage of workers for their businesses.
Rent increases must be considered against increasing the cost of everything else: food, medicine, repair supplies, and other necessities. And, a sales tax is regressive as it hits lower-income consumers and workers harder than those with more resources.
The Housing Authority needs a predictable source of funding for its programs. Few of us can budget with significant variability in our income. The Housing Authority similarly cannot work with the fluctuations that a sales tax increase would impose. And, it is important to note that with commitment from local voters, state and federal dollars along with funding from granting organizations and institutions will be elevated. There is no such match for sales tax revenue.
A sales tax increase should be taken out of consideration in favor of the superior mill levy proposal.