Santa Fe voters will decide in November whether to instate a “mansion tax” or extra tax on buyers of houses over $1 million. Dozens of residents turned out ahead of a city council vote on the proposal Tuesday, and most voiced frustration with the high cost of housing in the city.
The Santa Fe City Council voted 8-1 to put the measure on the ballot in November. Money from the tax would go towards the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which finances new housing projects and efforts to keep residents housed.
The proposal would put a 3% tax on anything that a homebuyer pays over $1 million. If a home costs $1.1 million, for example, the buyer would pay $3,000.
Public comment by residents lasted over two hours, with most voicing their support for the proposal and frustration with the high cost of living in Santa Fe.
Destiny Krupnick testified that she is 20 years old and has experienced homelessness this summer.
“As someone with health issues that sometimes prevent me from going to work, I am left constantly struggling. Today, I thought about taking a loan to be able to pay rent, eat and feed my dog,” she said.
Several city council candidates were there to weigh in, including Geno Zamora who said very few of his high school classmates remain in Santa Fe due to cost, and his law firm is struggling to recruit.
“So if doctors and lawyers can’t afford to live in Santa Fe, how can our nurses, our first responders, our service workers, our trades workers afford to live in Santa Fe?” he said.
There was pushback from several residents arguing the city hadn’t done a sufficient economic study. One former Lehman Brothers analyst noted that depending on the housing market, the proposal could become an unreliable source of funding.
The city estimates that the tax will bring in about $4.5 million per year for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which currently receives $3 million annually from the general fund. City officials have said the money from the general fund could go to other uses if voters approve this proposal.
This coverage is made possible by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and KUNM listeners. This article is republished here with permission.