If workers were paid more by employers, affordable housing would not be an issue | SummitDaily.com
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If workers were paid more by employers, affordable housing would not be an issue

Darrel BakerBreckenridge

After I read the article “Housing authority wants more units” in the March 5 edition, I felt that I had to submit at least one opposing point of view to some statements made in the article. The statement, “We started looking at impact fees because that’s charging people who are causing the problem,” attributed to Summit Housing Authority executive director Bonnie Osborn, is totally without merit. People who buy property to construct a home or business or as an investment are contributing to the economy, not taking from it. Through their investment, buyers provide jobs and profit for individuals and firms in the construction business, all sorts of retail businesses, financial institutions, real estate and probably many others to the tune of tens of millions of dollars a year. The idea of charging an impact fee is simply another avenue to use to separate these people from their hard-earned money without appropriate justification. It is not possible to establish a “fair” impact fee. It appears to me the statement is based on the assumption that people who can purchase high-end properties in Summit County have plenty of money, and it is OK to just go in and take it. Additionally, adding costs to high-end properties could, in the long run, result in the unintended consequence of reducing economic activity in that area of real estate and, therefore, reduce the income that Summit County receives from it. The real cause of the housing problem, to whatever extent it exists, is that individuals on the lower end of the earnings scale are simply not receiving sufficient pay for their labor, or are not working enough hours, for them to provide themselves and their dependents with the basic essentials of living.In some cases, it is also probably true that individuals are trying to support too many people on one salary. The ideas set forth in the Summit Daily article: impact fees, a sales tax or property taxes, are simply ways to require the general public to supplement the salaries paid to individuals through supplementing housing costs with public money.In my view, the money needed to acquire adequate housing should be paid by the industries generating the need.For example, why should an individual who does not ski be required, through taxes or fees, to help support individuals who work in the ski industry? Why shouldn’t the ski industry provide that support? I didn’t see in the article where Osborn mentioned working with all employers in Summit County to get them to voluntarily raise the base pay for their employees. Additionally, I didn’t see anywhere in the article where the Summit Housing Authority would pursue the avenue of requesting voluntary donations from businesses and individuals. I guess it is just easier to take people’s money from them than to ask for it. The best way to fix this problem, in my opinion, is to first require individuals in need to do everything possible to help themselves. This used to be a requirement in American society before individual responsibility became antiquated.The second thing which should be done, if necessary, is to work toward convincing employers to pay their employees a living wage as related to the costs of living in Summit County.If all employers did this, none would be disadvantaged. In the long run, it is usually far better to use a market economy approach; that of basic supply and demand, than it is to use an approach more closely related to socialism. Adopting the socialistic approach is tempting because of the results which can be obtained in the short term.


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