Vancouver Sales Tax to be Used for Affordable Housing?

    The City of Vancouver is looking to tap into resources it already has by dedicating some of the revenue brought in from sales tax to affordable housing.  On July 8th the Vancouver City Council approved a resolution at their meeting that declared the City’s intent to impose a sales tax for affordable housing.

    The passage of SHB 1406, which allows Washington State cities and counties to impose a 0.146% sales tax for affordable housing no doubt played into the City of Vancouver’s declaration of intent. If passed, the goal for the revenue, according to Natasha Ramros (the City’s CFO), is to “fund acquiring, rehabilitating, or constructing affordable housing, including new units of affordable housing within an existing structure or facilities that provide supportive housing services.”

    Now that the City of Vancouver has passed its resolution, the next step would be to officially state its intent, discuss and agree upon where the funding would go, then pass an ordinance to establish the sales tax in Vancouver. It is thought that the money generated from the sales tax would be best distributed by bonds as the dollar amount does not change annually.

    The earliest that the City could begin collecting revenue from the proposed sales tax would be in January of 2020.

    Do you think this sales tax would be an effective way to fund affordable housing in Vancouver? Why or why not?

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