Letter to the editor: Affordable housing for less?

To the editor:

The Town Talk column from June 30 concerning a proposed 250-unit housing project’s request for a sales tax exemption on construction materials reminded me of a description used by Paul Romer, 2018 Nobel Prize winner in economics. That description had to do with his concern over business models that adopt dishonesty, misrepresentation and exploitation of customers.

My concern is the ambiguous terminology regarding the project. It was identified as an affordable housing project, and the state tax incentive program is for projects whose lower income residents would have incomes 50% to 70% of the median income for the area. That would be a rent of $700 to $1000 per month, by my calculations. However, for a minimum wage earner with an income of $20,000, a rent of $600 would be considered affordable.

In applying for these tax incentives, the developers hope to sell $45 million in incentives to fund the $70 million dollar project. Could the city/county manage this project for less money and actually provide low-income affordable housing?

Tom Guba,

Lawrence

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