֎ Seattle, home town of Amazon, had an election recently in which Amazon spent over $1.5 million in campaign spending in an attempt to seat a seven member Council with pro-business candidates. Amazon’s issue was a ballot initiative that rejects Amazon’s personally managed contribution (tax) to housing for Seattle that would clear the way for government taxation. Amazon was able to seat only two candidates and was unable to defeat Kshama Sawant, a pro-labor city council member who is a thorn in the side of corporation-managed “tax” levies. It turns out corporate influence on ballot measures is a nationwide issue. Corporations are willing to contribute to housing programs only in an effort to provide employee housing, not housing where it may be needed most and, of course, they can change the amount whenever they choose. Ideologically, only governments (Congress) can pass tax legislation. Interesting article. See: https://www.citylab.com/equity/2019/11/tech-corporate-political-campaign-donations-elections-pac/601423/?utm_campaign=citylab-daily-newsletter&utm_medium=email&silverid=%25%25RECIPIENT_ID%25%25&utm_source=newsletter
OTHER HOUSING NOTES
֎ 13 years of homeownership. A new analysis from the real estate brokerage firm Redfin shows the typical homeowner in the United States now stays in their house for 13 years. That’s five years more than they did in 2010. This lack of movement, especially among aging baby boomers, has created inventory shortages and pushed up prices. According to Redfin and the housing data firm CoreLogic, Salt Lake City, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas are the cities with the longest median homeowner stays, all more than two decades. [Wall Street Journal]
֎ Apple pledges $2.5 billion to combat California’s housing crisis [NPR]
֎ Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 40 out of 68 city firefighters need a second job to pay the rent.
֎ Between 2000 and 2015 the U.S. produced 7.3 million fewer homes than it needed to keep up with demand and population growth.
֎ National Association of Home Builders estimates builders will build about 900,000 new homes in 2018—400,000 short of what’s needed to keep up with population growth. Their big talking point: Build up, not out.
The housing battle across the nation is growing rapidly. Still, NIMBYs and corporations are able to influence local government’s attempts to use taxes to at least level the issue across income classes. Frequently this battle is waged in ballot initiatives. When the reader votes, make sure to read and understand the full ballot.