YAKIMA — Yakima City Council members will consider the option of a new sales tax to help fund housing projects and services when they meet Tuesday.
The council voted on Sept. 7 to draft an ordinance that would implement an affordable housing sales tax in the city. A bill passed by the Legislature in the spring, House Bill 1070, allows the use of local tax revenue for affordable housing and related services.
If passed, the ordinance would implement a tax of one-tenth of 1%, meaning consumers would pay one penny for every $10 spent on taxable goods. The revenue from the tax would be used for affordable housing projects, housing-related services or behavioral health-related services, the draft ordinance said.
Housing vacancy rates in Yakima are below 1%, according to the Housing Action Plan released by the city in June. About 36% of all households in Yakima were considered cost burdened from 2012 to 2016, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on housing costs, the report said.
The tax would generate about $2 million annually for affordable housing, Councilmember Soneya Lund said at the Sept. 7 meeting.
Mayor Patricia Byers voted against drafting an ordinance at the last meeting. She said she would not vote yes because the tax has not gone before voters.
If approved, the earliest day the tax would be in effect and collected is April 1, the draft ordinance said.