The League of Women Voters of Seattle-King County is urging voters to approve Proposition 1, the $290 million Seattle Housing Levy appearing on the August 2 ballot.

“With homelessness reaching crisis proportions and the cost of housing in the area soaring, it’s critical that the City continue its programs to aid low-income renters and homeowners,” said local League President Amanda Clark.

Despite the endorsement, the League has several concerns about the levy, including the fact that it costs twice as much as the 2009 Housing Levy but does not double the number of housing units to be built or preserved or the number of people served. In addition, the League believes that special levies should be used for short-term projects and emergencies, not for long-term projects that that are better funded by the General Fund or the Reserve Fund.

“Unfortunately, Washington State’s current tax structure and limit on property tax increases means that special levies to pay for necessary services will continue to proliferate,” said Clark. “The League would like to see those who profit from increased development pay their fair share toward providing affordable housing in terms of fees or taxes rather than tax incentives.”

Finally, the League would like to see more regional cooperation and solutions to the problem of affordable housing and homelessness, since the impacts are felt far beyond the City of Seattle. Clark concluded: “In sum, we endorsed this levy because something must be done about these critical problems, and this is a start. But we believe the City, the County, and the State can do better.”