As Santa Feans continue making their way to voting booths for the Nov. 7 election, a new poll shows strong support for a proposed excise tax ballot question to fund affordable housing.
Pro-tax PAC United for Affordable Housing reports it hired Change Research to question voters in the City of Santa Fe between Oct. 4 and Oct. 7. Of 467 respondents, 66% said they favored the tax, while 20% did not.
“This poll shows overwhelming support for the affordable housing measure, from every corner of Santa Fe,” the organization’s Deputy Campaign Manager Natalie Sept tells SFR. “Our campaign is working hard to make sure that all Santa Feans have a place to call home.”
Under the measure, a buyer of a home priced over $1 million would pay a 3% tax only on the portion of the home sale that exceeds $1 million. For example, a house priced at $1.2 million would result in a buyer paying $6,000 in taxes, or 3% of the $200,000 that exceeds the threshold. Revenue would support the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Advocates estimate the tax would generate around $4.5 million for the fund per year, based on data from over 1,500 million-dollar home sales in Santa Fe between 2018 and 2022.
Four nonprofit organizations also joined efforts in support of the tax Thursday morning to showcase various housing developments across the city that benefited from the city’s trust fund.
New Mexico Inter-Faith Housing Executive Director Daniel Werwath guided a tour of the housing organization’s own Siler Yard project; Homewise’s El Camino Crossing; Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity’s affordable homes in Plaza Bonita; and St. Elizabeth Shelters’ Santa Fe Suites.
Siler Yards, designed for self-employed creatives and their families, offers 65 live-work units that include one, two and three bedroom options. With the help of $400,000 from the city and donated land, New Mexico Inter-Faith Housing leveraged over $15 million in federal funds for the project.
El Camino Crossing, an 8-acre mixed-use community, has 40 single-family homes, 13 residential condos and 20 live-work spaces. Affordable housing makes up approximately 33% of the development’s single-family homes, plus a portion of the live-work spaces and condos are also priced for low and middle income earners.
Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity exhibited two affordable homes being built in the Plaza Bonita subdivision. The organization boasts the houses aren’t only affordable, but they’re also built for net-zero. The average family electricity bill, thanks to solar rays, ranges from $8 to $12, according to Habitat Director of Volunteer and Family Services Pascual Hernandez.
Finally, the Santa Fe Suites provides 60 units for the recently unhoused, as well as 60 for lower-income individuals. In addition, the site offers a full range of support services including case managers, therapists and more in order to help residents maintain their housing.
Werwath said the groups want to start hosting tours that showcase efforts around the city more regularly, adding they may help to pull away from “counterfactual conversations” regarding affordable housing.
“Every one of these projects got support from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, so when you see a realtor flier next week that says this doesn’t build housing units, you can actually now know for sure that that’s an absolute bullshit line, and they are not towing to any form of reality with their campaign around this,” Werwath said later at the end of the tour.
Just last week, the Santa Fe Association of Realtors filed a lawsuit against the city in an attempt to stop the excise tax. Early voting in the election began Oct. 10. The realtors argue the city doesn’t have the authority to impose the tax, a claim City Attorney Erin McSherry denied in an Oct. 6 memo, which explains her evaluation of the measure. Sept commented on the lawsuit in the poll’s press release, calling it “anti-democratic and an insult to the voters.”
Sept tells SFR the pro-tax PAC plans to beef up its advertising campaign as Election Day edges closer. The group will release testimonial videos of those helped through the Affordable Housing Trust Fund next.
United for Affordable Housing will hold four events to educate voters on the high-end excise tax:
5:30 pm, Friday, Oct. 20 in the Community Room at Genoveva Chavez Community Center, 3221 Rodeo Road; 6 pm, Monday, Oct. 23 at Somos Un Pueblo Unido, 1804 Espinacitas St.; 10:30 am, Saturday, Oct. 28 in the Community Room at Main Library, 145 Washington Ave.; and 3 pm, Sunday, Oct. 29 at the Girls & Boys Club, Zola Building, 6600 Valentine Way.