Tom Creighton is making it very clear that he wants to end Lehigh County’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund for ideological anti-government reasons. It isn’t that he thinks the County could use the money in a higher-impact way. The Tea People think charging $11.50 to somebody buying a $300,000 house is a grave moral problem. They don’t think it’s any of the government’s business trying to help poor people afford housing:
At its height, the $11.50 fee (tacked on to the existing $11.50 fee for recording of deeds and mortgages) generated up to $400,000 a year. It’s expect to generate $200,000 to $300,000 this year, according to Cindy Feinberg, the county’s director of community and economic development.
Adding $11.50 to a $300,000 house sale is probably not going to kill the deal, Jennings argued.
But Creighton called it a “nuisance tax” that has benefited too few people in just a few housing developments, and said it can be eliminated to shrink the size of government.
“I feel it’s just a tax that we don’t need,” Creighton said. “By not having that fee, it makes houses cheaper for everybody.”
Now, it’s true that cutting a flat $11.50 off every home’s selling price would make homes cheaper. But what makes this such a stupid argument is that they would get cheaper by $11.50 – an amount too small to matter to any home buyer or seller. Tom Creighton don’t care though! The Tea People’s single-minded goal is cutting taxes, and they don’t care about what happens to the people struggling with unaffordable housing costs.
People should remember this episode next time they read somebody complaining that Republican politicians aren’t competitive in Allentown. Browsing the comments of most online news articles about Allentown, you see a lot of ugly accusations that lower-income Latino voters are stupid, thoughtless lever-pullers who won’t give Republicans a fair shake. But look at what Republicans are doing! Allentown voters think Republicans don’t care about people getting squeezed with high housing and transportation costs, and Tom Creighton is proving them right. It’s not like Lehigh County Republicans have some competing platform on these issues, some other ideas about how to reduce housing costs. They don’t give a shit, and they don’t even try to pretend they give a shit.
(Thanks: Samantha Marcus)