by Jason Williams
The federal minimum wage just went up this month from $5.15 to $5.85. How many people were trapped under this low-wage system? Turns out that only .35% of the 140 million working Americans get paid the minimum wage. Seems like the private sector is doing just fine rising wages without government mandates. (source: Professor Bradley Schiller, American University)
by Andy High
With talk all through out Oregon about how to make home more affordable, governments continue to continue to bring up one bad idea after another but one of the worst is Inclusionary Zoning.
Inclusionary Zoning requires the developers who want to develop their land to set aside a certain portion of it for affordable housing. When the developers try to make the numbers work at the end of the day it will require them to pass the cost to future homeowners. Some jurisdictions in the US require developers to set aside over 20% of the lots for affordable housing. Simply, this drives up the costs for all homeowners.
This strategy simply doesn’t work. For example, for 30 years cities around the San Francisco Bay area have implemented Inclusionary Zoning. This has managed to create 6,840 units through these requirements, which produced about 28% of the need. Builders and developers simply left those cities or built in those areas that didn’t have Inclusionary Zoning. In Burlington, Vt. has managed to deliver 180 affordable units over 15 years.
Luckily, Oregon has a law on the books that prohibits Inclusionary Zoning. Let’s hope it stays that way.
by Kurt Weber
Oregon local government officials take note of Sandy Springs, Georgia. “Indeed, the experiment in Sandy Springs, Ga., has proved that local governments don’t need hundreds of public employees to function. Sandy Springs, a fast-growing town of more than 80,000 residents, has only four public employees who are not involved with public safety. Except for police and fire, virtually every government function has been contracted out.”
Thus reports the Reason Foundation’s former director of government reform Geoffrey F. Segal in a June 19, 2007 Tampa Tribune commentary. Segal continues, “In its two years under private management, Sandy Springs hasn’t needed a tax hike or a fee increase, the government has become more responsive, the service quality has improved, and so has customer satisfaction. The residents love it.
“In fact, this model has worked so well that two other Atlanta-area communities adopted it last year, and several others are considering a similar approach.”
Print out Segal’s article. Get a few others on the topic from the Reason website. Pass them along to your favorite city councilor, county commissioner or journalist. When appropriately applied, the principles guiding Sandy Springs government could produce similar results throughout Oregon.