Affordable housing tax asking for leap of faith
I read with some interest the proposal of the CVRD to run a referendum on adding a tax to support affordable housing on the fall ballot.
On one hand I thought this was a decent and unique thing to do as there is no viable way for this problem to be addressed other than by government intervention. If left to the private sector it will continue to be a problem as there is no incentive for private developers to do anything but maximize their profits and affordable housing is not going to do that.
However, on the other hand it is asking for a leap of faith on the part of taxpayers when it comes to what is actually done with the money.
All too often, when faced with the reality of increasing costs of operations, politicians, as we well know, fear for their seats lest they be accused of serving up a dose of reality and suggesting they will increase taxes. This leads of course to finding monies that are under utilized or waiting to be spent to offset rising costs.
Unless there are strict legislative controls and perhaps trust funds established to monitor and control funds raised for the purpose of building affordable housing it is inevitable that such funds will find their way into general revenues and the housing will never be built.
Be careful what you ask for.