Prosperity center juggling statistics to support opinion |

Prosperity center juggling statistics to support opinion

John Messina
Guest column

After attending the Tahoe Prosperity Center Conference on Housing, the problem with its statistics became very apparent.

Any scientific study should be conducted in a non-biased manner just the same as a jury in court should not have any preconceived opinions when hearing a case.

Tahoe Prosperity Center has started out with the pre-determined conclusion that South Lake Tahoe needs more housing and particularly more subsidized housing. What it has really produced is a compendium of studies that juggle the statistics to support only its opinion.

One such misrepresentation is the assumption that non-related individuals sharing a residence are housing deprived. In Tahoe, most of those sharing housing are younger people working for minimum wage in the tourist industry. They ignore the fact that most of them have another home with their family.

In fact the taxpayers should not be subsidizing the profits of the tourist industries cheapskates like Heavenly (Vail Resorts) and casinos by providing their employees housing at the taxpayers’ expense, make them pay a living wage.

It was surely a mistake for the SLT city council to give TPC $65,000 of our tax dollars to hire a consultant of their choosing to help persuade the public that we need more subsidized housing. Of course they are going to hire one who supports their goals. It is therefore not surprising that the study’s conclusion was that we need 3,290 more homes of which 42% they believe should be subsidized.

If you read all their material you will quickly see that the TPC is not about helping poor people get housing, it is about getting subsidies that use our tax dollars to pay for rich land developer’s projects.

Amongst the perks available to these developers: free land, pay no permit fees, free RUUs (development rights), low cost city loans for the development and to top it off, they don’t have to pay property taxes on these developments. And all of these things take tax money away from other uses and make it necessary to raise taxes on those who are already struggling to support their own families and now have to support someone else’s in addition to their own.

Nor is any consideration given as to a maximum limit on subsidized housing nor the adverse effects it may have on our community. If you look at cities like Oakland, Richmond etc … the costs go far beyond that of just the housing.

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