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EDITORIAL: Three Real Estate Issues, Under Consideration, Part Nine

Prior to my arrival in Pagosa Springs, I had the privilege of living for 20 years in Juneau, Alaska — another town suffering its own version of tourism-generated growing pains — and I think I know what ‘a genuine community’ feels like. There is ...

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News/Politics / Opinion/Letters EDITORIAL: Three Real Estate Issues, Under Consideration, Part Nine by Bill Hudson · March 2, 2018 Read Part One [Economist Henry] George argued that the rent of land increased faster than wages for labor because the supply of land is fixedModern economists, including Ottmar Edenhofer, have demonstrated that George’s assertion is plausible but was more likely to be true during George’s time than now. — Wikipedia More than a few years ago — in 1879, to be exact — American economist Henry George published his ground-breaking and very popular book, Progress and Poverty, and as a result, sparked a number of reform-oriented political movementsGeorge was concerned about the economic inequality in America — the persistence of heart-wrenching poverty in the midst of a growing, industrializing nationHe pegged our continuing inequality, and other social problems, to the private ownership of landHis book sold 3 million copies at a time when the total U.Spopulation was about 50 million people — and millions more copies sold worldwide, probably more than any previous book by an American author. He’d honed his writing skills as editor of the San Francisco Times, during the population explosion that took place in California following the Gold Rush of 1849. George viewed the problem of poverty in terms of two kinds of wealthOn the one hand, we have the authentic wealth created by human labor — physical labor and intellectual laborOn the other hand, we have the artificial wealth created by monopoly control of resources — especially, the control of landIn a region with a growing population, like California in 1879, the corporations and investors that controlled productive land were able to extract premium profits from the working class, merely by having monopoly control of that landIn 1879, the evil corporations creating widespread poverty for their own selfish benefit were — in George’s view — primarily the railroads. Land is a finite resource, even in ColoradoEven in Pagosa SpringsIn 1879, Henry George believed the nation could solve its problem of ‘poverty in the midst of plenty’ by funding social needs — that is, government services — with a hefty tax on land ownership, and by reducing taxes on ‘wealth created by labor’ such as income taxes and sales taxes. I haven’t read George’s book — I’ve only read about the book, and about George himself — but it seems to me that monopoly corporations typically pass the cost of their operations onto the consumer, including taxes of any kindSo I don’t even vaguely understand how the adoption of Henry George’s taxing scheme might have solved the problem of poverty and inequality, had it ever been instituted in America. But I do vaguely understand that we’re facing an especially challenging situation in Pagosa Springs in 2018, and that even our most politically conservative government leaders are concerned about the direction in which we’re currently headed. You probably wouldn’t suspect that we had concerns about our future, however, if you were to read the introduction to the draft Comprehensive Plan Update available on the Town of Pagosa Springs website(You can also download it here.)  The draft Update begins like this: Pagosa Springs is “Refreshingly Authentic” – a place of natural beauty, diverse cultures and a genuine communityThat natural beauty, along with the hot springs, has drawn groups to the area for centuriesNative Americans, the Spanish and early American miners and ranchers settled around the hot springs and cultivated the community heritage that thrives into the presentThe Town is steeped in its history and profoundly optimistic about its future. I’m not sure what the authors of the above paragraph mean by “a genuine community,” but as a 25-year resident of Pagosa Springs, I can testify that a huge proportion of the people who have relocated to Archuleta County over the past 25 years came here looking for ‘seclusion and privacy,’ and not ‘a genuine community.’ Prior to my arrival in Pagosa Springs, I had the privilege of living for 20 years in Juneau, Alaska — another town suffering its own version of tourism-generated growing pains — and I think I know what ‘a genuine community’ feels like. There is very little “genuine community” remaining in Pagosa Springs, in 2018Nor is this a place of “diverse cultures.” Nor is there a significant amount of “community heritage” left, nor much collective connection to our “history.” Really… are we profoundly optimistic about our future? You tell me. The Comp Plan continues: The Town’s economy and residents reveal the dual presence of the old and the new, the constant and the dynamic, in Pagosa SpringsThe population is a mix of long-time residents, including an indigenous population, and newcomersMany of these newcomers are retirees whose presence has helped diversify the local economyWhile the Town’s economy continues to revolve around tourism and healthcare, craft and outdoor product industries are growing… An emerging economic center, uptown provides much of the Town’s sales tax baseMeanwhile, downtown remains the heart of the community as its recreation, tourism and cultural center. I wonder how anyone could take this document seriously, as an accurate description of our townUnfortunately, this will likely become the official, government-sanctioned version of Pagosa Springs, 2018.  Seems to me, it’s mighty difficult to address your town’s problems if you insist on viewing yourself through rose-colored glasses. From the draft Comp Plan: The population of the County is expected to increase significantly over the next 10 years, with a projected increase of 28.6%Likely, much of that growth will occur beyond the Town limits but within its economy and planning area. To put that projection into raw numbers, this would mean a county-wide population of about 16,000 people by 2028Presumably, then the number of houses in Pagosa Springs would also increase by 28.6%? So the growing population has places to live? But: Homebuilding and construction have been slower to rebound since the RecessionSince 2006, 41 new units have been built in the Town, representing 3.8% of the total housing stockIn the County, despite higher population growth, only 0.9% of total housing units were built from 2006 onwards. According to the 2017 Archuleta County Housing Needs Study, a survey of local contractors suggest that more than 60 percent of the homes now being built in Archuleta County are intended for second home ownersAnd that’s been the case since 2006If those estimates are accurate, then the amount of housing built for local residents to live in, over the past 12 years, has amounted to an increase of about 1 percent of the current housing stock. How, exactly, does a community increase its population by 28.6% over the next ten years — when the long-term housing stock intended for full-time residents is increasing at a rate of 1 percent every ten years? Are all the new full-time residents are living in their cars? Sorry, I’m not feeling profoundly optimistic about the future. Read Part Ten… Bill Hudson Bill Hudson founded the Pagosa Daily Post in 2004 in hopes of making a decent living writing about local politics The hope remains.   Support Our Advertisers              FeaturesPagosa News Pagosa Weather Forecast Daily Post Staff Recent Articles Colorado Legislator Wants Judiciary Subject to Open Records Law EDITORIAL: Three Real Estate Issues, Under Consideration, Part Ten Democratic Part Caucuses to be Held Tomorrow, March 6 USDA Website Aimed at Addressing Rural Opioid Crisis OPINION: One Year of Dirty Deals at Interior Department EDITORIAL: Three Real Estate Issues, Under Consideration, Part Nine FLC WellPAC Presents ‘Cracked, Not Broken: The Kevin Hines Story’ Recent Archives Recent Archives Select Month March 2018 February 2018 January 2018 December 2017 November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 March 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 February 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 October 2008 September 2008 July 2008 June 2008 April 2008 January 2008 December 2007 July 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 November 2006 September 2006 May 2006 April 2006 December 2004 Contact UsPhone: 970-903-2673 Email: Mail: PO Box 3961 Pagosa Springs CO 81147 Pagosa Daily Post is a production of Bill Hudson Productions, offering website design, video production and graphic design to the Pagosa Springs community Home News/Politics Opinion/Letters Essays/Poetry Business Education/Health Arts Community Outdoors Humor

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