Saturday, June 28, 2008

It Figures...

Ok, so there is a lot of political diversity at my church, eh? Mostly it leans to the right, but there are surprisingly more and more moderates within the body. I am very moderate when it comes to fiscal issues, however, very liberal when it comes to social policy.

Wednesday evening, an elderly man whom everybody loves and respects greatly, told "his story" to us. And what an amazing one it was. You see, he lost his sight in his 30's, some 40-odd years ago. With the help of some social insurance programs (read: taxpayer funded "welfare") such as SSI and assistance provided by the just-passed Manpower_Development_and_Training_Act of 1962, and a great outpouring of help from members of the church, this family was able to get by. His wife went back to school and later worked as a nurse to support the family. Many miracles happened along the way and their story is amazing.

Afterwards, I thought to myself, "What a great example of "the system" working and for a person who is known and respected, as opposed to a stereotype that many can't support."

It gave me hope...

Times are hard in Colorado right now. As with everywhere, the economy is sluggish. Our housing market has the 5th highest foreclosure rate in the nation right now. And we are hitting critical mass with poverty rates. Things have got to change.

Recently I told Housing Colorado that I would help petition for citizen signatures in order to assist getting the Housing Investment Fund Initiative on the ballot for this fall.

If passed, a real estate transfer fee would be created and put into effect. The fee would equate to 4¢ for every $100 in real estate transactions, i.e. for the sale of a $200k home, the fee would be $80. It's estimated that if passed, the first year of the fee's existence, $35 million would be generated and subsequently dedicated to building affordable housing for our residents in need.

Because this fee works like a tax, albeit more like a mill levied one and only in the case of property exchange, Colorado's infamous TABOR amendment requires any tax be referred to the ballot by the people and voted in by the people. We're just trying to get it on the ballot right now.

So, I put an e-mail out to my church, saying that if people were interested in signing the petition, I would have it with me at church on Sunday. I reminded folks of who benefits from affordable housing:
  • Seniors
  • Disabled individuals/families
  • Single parents who are working
  • Essential service providers, such as teachers, healthcare workers, law enforcement, and social workers

Immediately I got a response back about how taxes are not the answer - how such a fee would have cost this person $2,000 (edited to add - when you do the math, if done correctly, that's a $5 MILLION home! WTF is he complaining about $2k, it's a drop in the bucket, no?) when they moved here from CA, how property taxes need to be CUT (and let me just entertain this thought....what happens to public schools, which are funded by property taxes then?) blah, blah blah from a member I'm with whom I'm not familiar.

I googled his name and found that he's an officer of the local Libertarian party.

Shocking, eh? Also - no amount of discourse is likely to change his mind.

My response:

Thank you ________. My intent was not to argue for/against this particular initiative, but rather just let people know that if they so desire they may help get it on the ballot. I will agree to disagree with your political philosophy.

Thank you!

Personally, I think Jesus was a big fan of income redistribution, pooling assets for a common good, etc. But, hey, I could be wrong.

© 2008 Ramblings of a Red-Headed Step-Child. All Rights Reserved


  1. Oooh, hey! For what it's worth, I signed this petition last weekend. (While working on a Habitat house, a likely source of people who'd support subsidized housing.) :-)

  2. Wow - this is my first time on your site and I like what I see. I'll be checking back soon.