December 11, 2000
Government should recognize cause and effect
The "highest in the nation" high-tech salaries, whereby in King County in 1999 "the average software worker took home $401,682 per year, compared to an average of $37,860 for all nonsoftware workers in the county," are disastrous for many King County residents.
Such as for the husband-wife school teachers who moved to teaching jobs in Spokane to find affordable housing. Plus, the others who commute as far as Cle Elum and Mount Vernon, or live with relatives because they can't afford their own housing.
The techies, who can afford a city condo plus a get-away-home-in-the-country, combine with growth management and unaffordable environmental regulations to drive up housing costs to the realm of unaffordability. Then the already-burdened taxpayers are asked to subsidize even middle-income housing, and to pay teachers a housing allowance. And let's not forget the increasing road taxes and fees to pay for traffic congestion caused in part by the long-distance commuters.
The City of Redmond collects employee taxes from its high-tech industries. How about collecting high-tech mitigation fees for countywide impacts of the high-techies?
And how about cancelling the sales-tax exemptions and tax credits for luring ever-more industry here?
Until the housing supply catches up with the job supply, more jobs mean higher housing costs and higher taxes for the ordinary guy.
Government should recognize cause and effect.
Maxine Keesling, Woodinville