We are facing a severe housing affordability crisis in cities around the world. I'm an affordable housing advocate running for the Richmond City Council. AMA about what local government can do to ensure that every last one of us has a roof over ou...
My name's Willie Hilliard, and like the title says I'm an affordable housing advocate seeking a seat on the Richmond, Virginia City Council. Let's talk housing policy (or anything else!)
There's two main ways local governments are actively hampering the construction of affordable housing.
The first way is zoning regulations, which tell you what you can and can't build on a parcel of land. Now, they have their place - it's good to prevent industry from building a coal plant next to a residential neighborhood! But zoning has been taken too far, and now actively stifles the construction of enough new housing to meet most cities' needs. Richmond in particular has shocking rates of eviction and housing-insecurity. We need to significantly relax zoning restrictions.
The second way is property taxes on improvements on land (i.e. buildings). Any economist will tell you that if you want less of something, just tax it! So when we tax housing, we're introducing a distortion into the market that results in less of it (even where it is legal to build). One policy states and municipalities can adopt is to avoid this is called split-rate taxation, which lowers the tax on buildings and raises the tax on the unimproved value of land to make up for the loss of revenue.
So, AMA about those policy areas, housing affordability in general, what it's like to be a candidate for office during a pandemic, or what changes we should implement in the Richmond City government! You can find my comprehensive platform here.
I would greatly appreciate it if you would be wiling to donate to my campaign. Not-so-fun fact: it is legal to donate a literally unlimited amount to non-federal candidates in Virginia.
Edit 2: I’m signing off now, but appreciate your questions today!