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Santa Fe May Ask Voters To Approve Excise Tax On Million Dollar Home Purchases For Affordable Housing

 Santa Fe Councilor J
Kevin Meerschaert
Santa Fe Councilor Jamie Cassutt listens to a presentation during a Quality of Life Committee meeting

Voters in Santa Fe may be getting asked if they want to place an excise tax on the sale of million dollar homes to raise funds for affordable housing programs.

A bill that would place the question on the November ballotwas introduced Wednesday night at the city’s Quality of Life Committee meeting.

If adopted, a three-percent excise tax would be placed on all transfers of residential properties above one-million dollars. The tax would only be collected on the price above the million dollar threshold. The money would be directed to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.  

The bill was introduced by Councilors Jamie Cassutt and Renee Villareal.

Cassutt says it would go a long way to help people find affordable housing in Santa Fe, where it’s very difficult to buy a house for less than $250,000 which is already out of the price range for many residents.

“This is one of the most important things about the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. It does provide those dollars to those families so they can afford that down payment and perhaps enter a housing market that otherwise they would not have an opportunity to be a part of,” she said. “That’s really important and it’s a key piece of keeping our community with us. The other things our Affordable Housing Trust Fund can do is provide rental assistance. If you think about somebody who has lost their job, they need gap funding for two months and that two months is going to prevent them from becoming homeless. We can provide that with the Housing Trust Fund.”

According to the Governing Body, between 2015 and 2021, the share of renters with incomes below $25,000 decreased from 37% to 24%.

Meanwhile the share of renters with incomes over $75,000 increased from 18% to 30%.

It’s a sign that lower income people are being forced to leave Santa Fe and many in higher income brackets can’t afford to purchase a home.

The bill will have a public hearing at the Governing Body meeting on the 12th, and be discussed and likely voted on later this month in the Quality of Life and Finance Committees with another public hearing and possible vote at the Governing Body meeting on August 9th.                               

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