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Council News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   
12/4/2007  4:20:00 PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Ann Corbitt, Rasmussen Office, (206) 684-8808

Councilmember Tom Rasmussen
Councilmember Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Richard J. McIver

COUNCILMEMBERS CRAFT PROPOSAL FOR MIDDLE-INCOME HOUSING
Housing Committee members want to stimulate more affordable housing

SEATTLE – Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, Chair of the Housing, Human Services, and Health Committee, released a proposal today for building more middle-income housing. Councilmember Rasmussen’s proposal will stimulate the development of moderately priced housing through changes to the City’s Multi-Family Tax Exemption Program. Reducing taxes on buildings in exchange for a guarantee of lower rent or home prices is one of the few affordable housing strategies available to the City. Rasmussen’s proposal follows numerous community meetings on affordable-housing strategies. Councilmember Rasmussen, said, “Seattleites are very concerned about the housing needs of middle-income people. The current free market provides housing for the wealthy and existing government housing programs subsidize building homes for low-income people. The current tax exemption program, if modified, can stimulate the development of moderate-income housing.”

In addition, the Committee has found that there are many important differences between neighborhoods when it comes to housing production. The changes that Rasmussen is proposing for the Multi-Family Tax Exemption will be tailored to meet the needs of specific neighborhoods’ goals. Councilmember Rasmussen said, “Some of our neighborhoods are experiencing high rents and high growth in housing construction and others are lagging behind. My proposal will reflect the diversity of housing development costs and rents in our city.” Councilmember Sally J. Clark, vice-chair of the Committee, said, “Seattle is a city of strong and diverse neighborhoods. This proposal is targeted to produce the best results for each neighborhood in the city.” Councilmember Richard J. McIver said, “Certain areas of the city are behind in economic development and housing production. Changes to the Multi-Family Tax Exemption Program must be crafted very carefully to impact the areas where middle-income housing is most needed.”

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