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Utah State Senator To Propose Bill Aimed At Helping Local Governments Subsidize Affordable Housing

Photo of large apartment building under construction in Salt Lake City.
Brian Albers

Utah Sen. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi, is pursuing a bill aimed at helping local governments subsidize the construction of affordable housing.

The bill, which is still being drafted, would require a state agency to compile a list of unused properties owned by state and local governments and encourage them to donate suitable property to developers.

Those developers would then have to designate a certain percentage of the units to be affordable.

“If you get them back into the marketplace, the property tax is being paid,” Anderegg said. “That's generating real dollars. Otherwise the land's just sitting there.”

The bill would also allow local governments to designate what Anderegg is calling “housing reinvestment zones.” In those areas, local governments would be able to take a certain percent of property tax from new affordable housing developments and use it to subsidize low income rents.

Anderegg said he’s a libertarian-leaning conservative, but the government needs to intervene in affordable housing, because the cost of building has outpaced income growth.

“It's just the reality of where we're at in a free market, capitalistic society, especially with real estate,” he said. “If we don't figure out how to provide subsidies, what we're doing is not only are we pricing out our children, we're pricing out our police officers, we're pricing out our school teachers.”

Anderegg’s bill is expected to be considered during next year's general session, which starts mid-January.

Sonja Hutson is a politics and government reporter at KUER.
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