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Eugene Officials Exploring Construction Excise Tax To Fund Affordable Housing

Aaron Morton

Tonight, the Eugene City Council may direct the City Manager to draft an ordinance for a construction excise tax. As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, the aim is to fund more affordable housing across the city...which several non-profit groups strongly support.

If passed, the ordinance would impose a 1 percent tax on all new building permits. This stems from the 2016 Oregon Legislative Session, when lawmakers approved new funding methods for affordable housing.

Jacob Fox is Executive Director of Homes for Good. He says the construction excise tax would generate $3 million a year for affordable housing development across Eugene.

Credit flightlog / Flickr.com

“A day doesn’t go by where someone that is homeless doesn’t come into our lobby and ask us for support," Fox says. "Our mission is to provide affordable housing opportunities to everyone in our community.  But in particular, people experiencing homelessness.

"So we know the need is great, and we know our community needs to respond.”

Portland, Corvallis, and other Oregon cities have adopted construction excise taxes in recent years.

Meanwhile, critics say such a tax could increase housing costs, or dampen construction and development.

Copyright 2018, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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