Vote against REET | Letters

Why is it that as soon as someone has an idea to solve a problem, the first thing that comes up is — let’s create a new tax! Instead, why don’t we think creatively of other ways to solve the problem. I’m referring to the proposed YES FOR HOMES ballot issue. The initiative sounds good but in fact, all it does is “increase” the cost of housing. Here’s a suggestion: eliminate some government instead of adding more. Many cities and municipalities have done this by outsourcing some or all of their governmental functions to private contractors.

An example would be Public Works. Everything they do could be done by private contractors. Public works has a lot of employees, expensive equipment and property that all require tax dollars to support. Public Works could keep a couple of engineers to oversee projects but their employees and equipment could be absorbed by local excavation, operators and all projects would be bid on a competitive basis.

But back to the housing problem. All that public works property could be made available at “very reasonable” lease rates to private contractors to build affordable housing. Plus, the County Building Department could eliminate duplications of the same tasks; e.g. a multi-house project would only require the approval of one house. Now instead of more new taxes we, the citizens, would be donating the land we already own, the land would provide income from the leases, we would see a decrease in the cost of projects because of competitive bidding and the building department would substantially reduce the cost for developers. These types of solutions are called “Win-Win,” and we wouldn’t have the burden of another government agency. I vote no on the Yes for Homes new tax proposal, but I vote yes for looking for creative solutions to the affordable housing problem.

Bob Waunch

Orcas Island