Use property taxes to promote affordable housing
Mayor Murray proposes to double Seattle's housing levy—to $290 million—in order to build affordable housing. He also proposes a 0.25 percent tax on real-estate transfers in the hopes of capturing some of the value from rising land prices and redirecting it toward affordable housing. The mayor also calls for an expansion of the multifamily property-tax exemption.
Seattle may very well be destined to fall into the Pacific Ocean. Until that dark day when the big one hits, the city has to grow and live. And for a place on the brink, Seattle sure seems to want to set itself up as a model for everyone else.
Back in the fall, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and the City Council called on various community leaders to develop a Housing Affordability and Living Agenda for the city. Last week, The Seattle Times got its hands on the draft report of the group's recommendations. One of the suggestions registers big on the Richter scale: Get rid of single-family housing.
"Approximately 65 percent of Seattle's land—not just its residential land but all its land—is zoned single-family, severely constraining how much the city can increase housing supply," the report reads. "Among its peer cities, Seattle has one of the highest percentages of land dedicated exclusively to detached single-family structures and a small number of accessory dwelling units."