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VIDEO: Voices Around Town | Affordable Housing

Does Mountain View need more affordable housing?

Do you think Mountain View needs more affordable housing?

Every week, the Voice asks passers-by on Castro Street in downtown Mountain View their opinion on current events. Watch the video to find out what people think about this week's question.

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Posted by Observer
a resident of another community
on Aug 26, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Seems like a loaded question. It makes me think of the Jimmy "The Rent Is Too Damn High" McMillan who ran for governor of New York. It's a populist message. Everyone, me included, wants their rent to be lower or mortgage to be smaller.

A better question might be, do you think affordable housing is a good use of your tax dollars? Or how about, would you like to pay more taxes so we can have more affordable housing? Maybe we should start by asking, who pays for affordable housing?

Personally, I am in favor of affordable housing for seniors and a few other disadvantaged groups. But the current system for collecting tax for affordable housing is broken. Its net effect on the entire community is actually negative. By taxing production (or new developments) it restrains supply, increases demand and moves prices even higher. If we can get the politics out of the discussion, maybe we can fix the system so it actually helps the overall community. Until then, we shouldn't make the problem worse by raising taxes to build less.

The one young woman in the video nailed the paradox. She wants more affordable housing, but she also wants her parent's home to sell for a lot of money. It's a case of the haves and the have-nots. Those who own want prices to go up. The current affordable housing program is great for them. Those that don't own should be asking for reforms.


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