Northwestern Washington: Vanishing Farmland
This is a local issue which is duplicating itself all over the country.
The formerly quaint agricultural town of Sequim, WA is undergoing the same ugly transformation that’s happening everywhere. Surrounding farmland is being plowed up and turned into malls and housing tracts, at a blinding pace.
Most of the newcomers to Sequim are California transplants who’ve made a financial killing selling their homes in California. They’re coming to Sequim in droves because of the cheap (compared to California) housing prices.
Now there’s an initiative on next month’s ballot: a tax of one half of one percent will be paid by the buyers of property in Sequim. If someone buys a $200,000 house, the tax will be $1,000. This is expected to generate millions of dollars over a ten-year period.
The money will be used to purchase development rights from willing landowners. It will make it profitable (that is, possible) for farmers to keep farming, instead of having to sell their land to developers in order to survive.
Needless to say, real estate interests from all over the country are uniting to fight this initiative. There’s a phony “grass roots” organization calling itself Stop Taxing The American Dream. (smirk) If there were a contest for Euphemism of the Year, these assholes would win hands down.
So far, outside interest groups have contributed $125,000 to Stop Taxing The American Dream. There’ll be a lot more money coming in the next two weeks; count on it. They need to spend tons of money to conjure up these folksy, touching images of first time home buyers being shut out of the housing market because of this evil tax.
Hopefully the ads won’t fool anybody, since everyone knows most of Sequim’s newcomers have just made a jillion dollar deal from selling their California homes.
Real estate interests are terrified that this trend will be duplicated all over the country if it succeeds here. More and more people are starting to wonder where our food will come from if all the farmland is converted to condos and Wal-Marts. The real estate industry is willing to spend whatever it takes to nip this in the bud.
Let’s hope the voters will be smart enough to see through this phony grass roots campaign waged by real estate interests.