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Bogus statistics undercut city program to help Portland renters

Thursday, May 4, 2017

It started with make-believe numbers.

The Portland Housing Bureau wanted city money to clean up code violations at low-income apartments east of 82nd Avenue.

It sounded like a worthy idea, but bureau officials wildly inflated how many apartment buildings would be eligible. They claimed 400 properties in east Portland had been flagged for urgent repairs when the actual number at the time was 19…

What appeared to be a bargain – paying landlords for repairs if they agreed to keep rents low – got caught up in a case of sloppy budgeting…

City housing officials deny misleading anyone…but they could produce no documentation to prove their assertions…They requested $1.5 million in the upcoming 2017-18 budget to continue the program….

Meanwhile, almost all the 19 landlords facing citations when officials first pitched the program have since made repairs without a subsidy…

We Respond & Your Comments

Here’s a paradigm for how government bureaucracies work:

  • Start with a program that sounds good because it helps “The Little guy”;
  • Get a whole bunch of money;
  • Hold on to it even though the problem is solving itself;
  • Ask for more money next year.

Why does this work? Because it’s not their money they’re spending. And if they run out of it they’ll just force peasant taxpayers to cough up more.


Income tax increase for homeowner’s bill up today — House Bill 2771

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

By Taxpayer Association of Oregon,

… the House Revenue Committee will be hearing an income tax increase bill for homeowners -House Bill 2771.  House Bill 2771 phases out allowances of itemized deductions for homeowners. This bill raises taxes on any homeowner who earns more than $50,000. For higher income earners this bill eliminates entirely one’s deduction for property taxes. This is a steep income tax increase for most Oregon homeowners.

The bill has no author. The politician who created this bill has remained anonymous.

The bill is also missing the 3/5th majority requirement for tax increases…   This amounts to a naked violation of the state constitution…

We Respond & Your Comments

As we said above – Oregon’s $1.8 billion budget hole isn’t the result of taxpayers not paying enough. It’s the result of our “Progressive” Legislature spending (and here we apologize to drunken sailors) like drunken sailors.

HB 2771 is one of the first fiscal assaults on Oregonians who are just trying to earn a living. There will be many more as our one party government slops up at the trough filled with your tax dollars.

Always remember our Legislature’s motto: “Government can never do with less money. Taxpayers always can.”


Editorial: A new front opens in the attack on landlords

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

This may be obvious, but it needs to be said: Landlords are not necessarily evil.

If you keep an eye on the Oregon Legislature — or… on the Bend City Council — it would be easy to get a very different idea.

Just a few weeks ago, the Bend City Council made it harder for landlords to get rid of bad tenants…

… Some [Oregon] lawmakers have been salivating over the prospect of limiting how much landlords can raise the rent…

And now, fresh from his demonization of “huge, out-of-state corporations” and their “rich stockholders,” State Rep. Phil Barnhart, D-Eugene, has bestowed a haymaker on the increasingly contested notion that landlords should be free to control the use of their own property…

The [Barnhart] bills allow residential and commercial tenants to install electrical vehicle charging stations, even if their landlords do not want their property to be altered in that way…

Given the low regard in which so many lawmakers seem to hold landlords… no one should be surprised to see people look for other things to do with land. Housing affordability will change accordingly.

We Respond & Your Comments

Click here  – you’ll see that Eugene has the 2nd tightest housing market in the U.S.

As we’ve explained, “Progressives’” refusal to adjust urban growth boundaries limits construction and affordability of houses, thereby increasing demand for and prices of apartments.

So what’s Phil “Einstein” Barnhart’s answer? It’s brilliant. Phil says, “Let’s reduce incentives for building apartments. That’ll limit the supply and drive up prices even more.” Yeah, that’ll really help “The Little Guy” you Progressives love so much.

Phil – Your brilliance is absolutely unbounded. You da man!


Oregon Landlords Propose a $25 Million Annual Program to Assist Renters…

Thursday, January 12, 2017

By Rachel Monahan,

Under pressure to respond to the rising cost of housing, the state’s landlord lobby is circulating a proposal to create a $25 million annual Oregon renter assistance program.

…the program would pay a portion of the rent for low-income tenants…

The proposal comes after Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek announced her support for overturning the state’s ban on rent control and ending “no-cause” evictions…

Economist Joe Cortright gave the landlords’ proposal mixed reviews, calling it a “broader-based way of addressing the affordability issue” than inclusionary zoning, the city’s housing bond or rent control, but one that would, nonetheless, result in higher rents across the market…

We Respond & Your Comments

It’s an ironclad law of economics: If you want more of something, subsidize it. Here it’s rent, which we’ll soon have more of if this program becomes law.

Look at it this way: Iggy’s diner charges $2 for a cheeseburger. For whatever reason, Max stands outside the door and hands a dollar to everyone going in to order a cheeseburger. Iggy, not being a dummy, raises the price to $2.50. Customers still get a burger for $.50 less than before and Iggy gets an extra $.50. What’s not to like?

It’s the same for anything. Subsidize tuition with grants and loans and you get more tuition. Subsidize rent and landlords raise rents to capture some of the extra dough.

As with so many things, Progressives achieve precisely the opposite of their intended result. In this case it’s higher rent.


Here’s the $258.4 Million Housing Bond You’ll Be Voting on in November

Thursday, August 11, 2016

by Dirk VanderHart,

Hey, Portland: You know how this city is currently short about 24,000 affordable units? And how the rent here is shooting up as fast, or faster, than anywhere in the country—15 percent in the last year…

Meet the latest effort to improve matters. City Council next week will almost certainly vote to refer a $258.4 million bond measure to the November ballot. If approved, it’d allow the city to borrow that much from the bond market, and pay it back over time via your higher property taxes…

What you need to know:…

  • The money wouldn’t have to only pay for housing. Up to one-fifth of the space of any project funded by the bonds could pay for “child care facilities, groceries, pharmacies, community rooms, food service, neighborhood retail and leasing offices.”…

We Respond & Your Comments

Why are Portland homes so expensive? Because demand outstrips supply. Why’s supply so low? One big reason is you can’t build enough houses to meet demand without expanding the urban growth boundary. That’s because progressives’ urban density obsession trumps human needs.

So again government caused a problem they’re going to milk taxpayers to fix. In this case it’s a $258.4 million bond. But it’s for “affordable housing.” Right?

Wrong. Part of it’s for grocers, pharmacies and other stuff. This means campaign bucks for the geniuses who hatched this problem.

Because when grocers Kroger, Safeway and Publix compete for their chunk of this “housing” treasure trove they’ll do it with campaign contributions to the politicos running the boondoggle. Likewise for pharmacies and construction companies wanting to slop up at the “affordable housing” trough.

So here we go again – “public servants” cause a problem, pick our pockets to fix it and rake in moolah while they’re at it. What’s not to like – if you’re a “public servant,” that is?


A City Club Committee Says Portland Should Explore Rent Control—And A Lot of Other Strategies

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Dirk VanderHart,

…In a report released Wednesday, an 11-member research committee for the City Club of Portland recommends the city take an array of new steps to address its burgeoning housing affordability crisis… …here’s a brief rundown [of] strategies the committee is calling for:

  • An end to the state’s preemption on rent control,so that local officials can consider policies that might help stem the tide. In particular, the committee seems intrigued by “rent stabilization” a sometimes-controversial strategy… that limits how high landlords can jack up rents…

We Respond & Your Comments

First we ask “Why is it the city’s business how much an owner charges for use of his private property? You don’t tell a grocer he can’t raise the price of carrots or a gas station owner he can’t raise the price of gas.”

Then we’d give these brainiacs a lesson in economics…

In 1994 Santa Monica, CA had a major earthquake. This “Progressive” city, concerned for “the little guy,” had long ago initiated rent control. Guess what? Apartment owners compensated for their inability to raise rents by skimping on maintenance and repairs.

Come the earthquake. Guess what crumbled like a stale cookie? You got it – the “little guys’” apartments – sometimes with “little guys” inside them.

The takeaways: a) people don’t just stand by while governments pick their pockets – they find  ways to replace lost revenue; b) they react to financial incentives. In this case they skipped repairs. How’d that work out for “the little guy?”


Housing costs hit low-income households

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Peter Wong,

Record-low vacancy rates, rising rents and a shortage of housing for lower-income people have combined to keep homelessness atop the public issues facing Washington County.

“We are developing market-rate housing to meet many of the needs of employees in the business sector,” said Annette Evans, homeless program coordinator for the county.

“But our aging population and people doing low-income sector jobs need a place to stay, too…”

Meanwhile, vacancy rates that once ranged from 5 to 7 percent have dropped to as little as 1.6 percent in Hillsboro…

“That gap (in affordable housing) has grown every year that our consolidated plan has been updated, and gets bigger,” Evans said…

The plan she referred to is “A Road Home,” which county commissioners adopted in 2008 with a 10-year goal of eliminating homelessness.

The plan has resulted in about $6 million spent annually in the county to cope with homelessness…

We Respond & Your Comments

So there’s a housing shortage in Washington County that’s hurting the poor, homeless, and elderly – people that “Progressives” say they want to help?

As usual, Progressives hurt these people and stick the bill for their foolishness to the rest of us. Let’s look at what they’ve done:

  • Enforced a Metro Urban Growth Boundary that limits housing. As any non-Progressive knows, limiting housing drives up prices. But Progressives say expanding it would kill trees and little furry critters, warming Earth and killing polar bears. So they cling to their urban density religion – because little furry critters trump poor people;
  • Increased the minimum wage…”Let’s help the poor by killing jobs.” Yeah – that’s the ticket!
  • Raised taxes on businesses. If you’re starting a business, where would you go first: Idaho, Nevada, or…Oregon? Jobs? We don’t need no stinkin’ jobs!

And the gap in affordable housing “has grown every year that our consolidated plan has been updated.” Notice a pattern here?


Portland City Council Builds Apartment. And Then?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

 Headwaters Apartments: Portland-owned property exempt from taxes but open to residents making $97,200

   – Brad Schmidt, The Oregonian/OregonLive

…The city-owned [Headwaters] apartments have everything a needy resident could dream of: …a good grocery store…

But Headwaters wasn’t designed for the needy. Most residents…can afford to live just about anywhere they want…

  • Though the city lacks enough housing for its poorest residents, leaders chose to spend $14.7 million in public money to build the 100-unit Headwaters for middle-income “work force” residents.
  • The Headwaters Apartments are exempt from property taxes. That means Multnomah County taxpayers subsidize rents…to the tune of $100,000 in lost revenue a year…

Headwaters would be risky because it required charging “significantly higher rents than existing vicinity area properties,”…

Units feature Energy Star appliances…and free organic coffee

…Headwaters’ $1.2 million a year in revenue is barely enough to cover debt and operating expenses…

We Respond & Your Comments

Predictable. Right? The brainiacs who run Portland brought their real estate development skills to the real life market. Their “mission”? Create working class housing that would turn a profit and fuel development of housing for the needy.

The result? Over priced apartments whose only market is renters well off enough to afford most any housing. So few of them chose the city owned digs that now the Portland City Council Einsteins will be lucky to break even.

The lesson? Leave real estate (and most everything else) to the people who make a living off doing it in the private market.

Oh, well. It wasn’t their money they scorched.