Affordable homes for teachers at taxpayers' expense?  What about firefighters and police? A brief analysis of HB-2348

WA State- 2/14/02 - Jackie Juntti recently requested a brief analysis from the Building Industry Association of Washington to determine the effect of  HB-2348 "Creating a Housing Allowance for K-12 Teachers".  

Tom McCabe of the BIAW (Building Industry Association of Washington) responded with the following statement:

Here's a brief analysis.HB 2348
Creating a Housing Allowance for K-12 Teachers

Representatives Ruderman, Jarrett (R), Santos, Upthegrove, McIntire,
Sommers, Schual-Berke, Conway, Wood (R), Esser (R), Kagi and Nixon (R).

Permits eligible school districts to provide a housing allowance to
nonsupervisory certificated and classified employees.  School districts in
which housing costs exceed the statewide median would be eligible to
provide the housing allowance using funds collected through levies.  The
funds could be provided through a separate housing levy or through
maintenance and operation levies if the housing allowance levy is
separately identified.

Excludes housing allowance levies from the current levy lid for maintenance
and operation levies.  Housing allowance levies also would not be
considered in determining a district's eligibility for local effort
assistance (also called levy equalization).

Includes a distribution formula that determines the maximum amount of money
that may be raised in a levy for the housing allowance, based on the number
of eligible employees multiplied by the differences between the district's
cost of housing and the median cost of housing statewide.

Makes the distribution of the housing allowance subject to collective

Excludes the housing allowance from basic education, state salary
limitations and the calculation of state funded pension benefits.

HB 2348 passed out of the House Committee on Education and House
Appropriations Committee.  It is now awaiting action in the House Rules

Why HB 2348 is bad legislation
HB 2348 is, far and away, one of the worst bills of the 2002 Legislative

This is blatant pandering to public employees, the doling out of special
privileges to teachers.  Thanks to excessive government taxes, fees and
regulations, people in just about every profession have difficulty
affording a home in this state.  What about police officers and
firefighters?  And waitresses, receptionists and truck drivers who can't
afford a home near their jobs and must waste hours every day commuting?
  Aren't they as deserving as teachers of an affordable home in the
community they work?

Government created the problem of sky-rocketing home prices via
over-regulation. Layers of federal, state, and local government regulations
and taxes add 24 percent to the cost of a home. The solution is to make
housing more affordable, not give money to people so they can afford to pay
the sky-rocketing prices.  I liken it to the government breaking your leg
and then giving you a crutch.

Allowing more homes to be built at an affordable price is the only solution
to the crisis Washington State is facing-and builders can, and will, build
affordable homes if they are not over burdened with unreasonable and
unnecessary regulations and taxes.

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