The ballot initiative to raise the sales tax in Anacortes by 0.1% is a unique opportunity to recover sales tax money for historic preservation, added childcare facilities and workforce housing for our town.

The increased tax would amount to 10 cents on $100 worth of taxable merchandise or services, or $40 on a $40,000 car, with a total cost estimated at about $20 per family per year. It would generate around $6.5 million that will be used to restore the Olson Building, build new public housing townhomes and apartments, and build a childcare facility for about 35 kids.

The housing will be managed by the Anacortes Housing Authority and Anacortes Family Center, using state-mandated income criteria to choose tenants. Most of the city’s sales tax revenue comes from boat and car sales and the sale of construction materials. Visitors who stay overnight, eat here, buy gas, shop here or use marine services here also contribute to our sales tax revenue.

The cost to Anacortes residents is minimal, and the benefits are huge. The lack of workforce housing and childcare are major deterrents to the economic development of our area. People who work here should be able to live here, and childcare spaces are critically short.

I urge a yes vote on this ballot measure.

Walter Guterbock

Anacortes

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