Biography & Net Worth: Desperate for Housing Options, Communities Turn to Ballot Initiatives

Even in a year out of the election, some of the initiatives have sparked costly battles.

“I have been an elected official here for 34 years and have never seen expenses like this,” said Claire Elizabeth Hall, a commissioner in Lincoln County. She cited a $ 200,000 donation from a short-term rental property operator. “I have never spent more than $ 8,500 on any of my campaigns,” he said.

Ms Hall, a Democrat, said she opposed the initiative because it “goes too far” and would likely affect luxury homes, rather than help those looking for cheaper housing. She prefers more regulation and compliance, and limits on the number of short-term rental licenses issued. Some opponents of the measure argue that the proposed removal would amount to control of private property by the county. Opponents have outnumbered the grassroots organization in the neighborhoods by roughly 25 to one.

Critics say taxes and even federal and state housing budget increases fail to address other structural problems that have affected the housing market. Those issues include the availability of building land, the current labor shortage, and zoning restrictions that restrict construction in addition to single-family homes in many locations.

“No matter how much money legislators spend to subsidize housing, the fundamental problem of not having enough houses for the number of people who live in a region, or would like to live in a region, cannot be addressed without allowing more to be built. ”Said Emily Hamilton, director of the Urbanity Project at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Even in Leadville, advocates of the new tax think residents are willing to give it a try. “Most of the other cities around uswe’ve done this, ”said Kristi Galarza, the“ facilitator ”for the Lake County Housing Coalition. “Once we explain to citizens how the funds will be used, we hear roundly, ‘Why not?’”