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Denver voters weigh in on housing affordability in new poll

By meerna Jul11,2024
Denver voters weigh in on housing affordability in new poll

DENVER (KDVR) — New poll data has been released from the Colorado Polling Institute, examining voters’ opinions on Denver’s mayor, affordable housing and taxes in the Mile High City.

The poll found that 48% of more than 400 likely Denver voters said they had a favorable opinion of Mayor Mike Johnston. About 38% of voters had an unfavorable opinion of him, and 40% said his handling of homelessness led them to that opinion.

The data was released just days after the mayor announced a new proposal to raise Denver’s sales taxes to fund public housing. Voters surveyed agree the city needs more public housing, but the data on voter sentiment on taxes could be bad news for the city’s plans to fund it.

Survey: Affordable Housing in Denver

CPI data shows Denver officials may be on the right track when it comes to creating more affordable housing.

About 54% of voters surveyed said Johnston has not made progress on housing affordability, while 24% said he needs to do more.

Ismael Guerrero is CEO of Mercy Housing, a Denver-based affordable housing development organization. Guerrero and his group are backing a proposed new referendum initiative backed by the city that would fund more affordable housing through a 0.5% sales tax increase.

“As Denver has been doing well, the economy has been strong, and people have continued to see Denver and Colorado as great places to live, the supply of new housing units has not kept up with that growth. And that means that as demand has increased but there’s not enough supply of new rental or ownership units, prices have gone up,” Guerrero said. “We’ve been getting good funding from the federal government through the COVID relief packages that have been passed. When that money is really stretched and allocated and invested, we need to replenish it. We think this sales tax proposal is a good solution.”

Guerrero said the housing units built with the funds will have a choice of building types and who can live in them, to help Denver residents who are hurt by the high cost of housing, regardless of their background.

What voters say about taxes in Denver

While support for more affordable housing is strong, taxes are a different story. New CPI data showed that 35% of voters surveyed believe taxes in the city of Denver are already way too high, while 29% said taxes in the city are high but acceptable.

Denver voters may be tired of spending extra money, according to Michael Fields, a Republican political analyst for FOX31.

“I think the question is, when you’re in a city like Denver, when do you become less competitive compared to other cities?” Fields said. “When people have high sales taxes, they can say, hey, I’m going to drive to the next city to buy stuff. That hurts Denver’s revenue. So where is that tipping point? I think Denver is probably pretty close to it now.”

The survey also found that 89% of renters surveyed said they felt financially burdened by their housing. About 31% of those who said they were dissatisfied with living in Denver cited the cost of living as a reason.

By meerna

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