Letter to the Editor: Restaurant workers need affordable housing

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Letter to the Editor: Restaurant workers need affordable housing
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To the editor:

Sure, nobody likes a tax increase, but I’m really, really glad Councilor Willie Bailey pressed elected officials to act on affordable housing. The additional 1 cent tax on meals is far easier to swallow than last year’s 5.7 cents tacked onto the real estate tax rate, and this year’s 3.4 percent increased residential property values – meaning taxpayers are paying a whopping 8.7 percent more than in 2016.

What a facetious argument against the meals tax to say that it’s a burden on low-income people. As one who is well acquainted with Alexandria residents well below the city’s average and median income levels, I can say that low income people seldom eat out, and when they do, it’s usually casual or fast food with a coupon so that extra 1 cent per dollar doesn’t add up to much on the cash register receipt.

Too many opportunities to preserve, build or designate affordable housing units have passed by city council during the past 15 years because our city didn’t have funds available to invest. Time and again, amid the whimpering and hand-wringing by elected officials, we’ve missed out on reasonable, productive proposals requiring investments by developers, nonprofits and our city.

We’ve heard only talk from councilors – usually around campaign time – and now it’s time to see their commitment to “walk the walk” for affordable housing at every opportunity, across our city.

For those deeply concerned about the effect of the 1-cent sales tax increase on Alexandria’s restaurants, perhaps they should speak with the kitchen workers and servers to determine how and where they house their families.

-Maria Wildes, Alexandria

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