I haven’t sent a strongly-worded letter in a long time

But it feels good. In reference to this recent bit of proposed legislation I sent this:

Senators Joyce and Jehlen:

Sen. Joyce recently filed a bill to give recent graduates a financial incentive to stay in Massachusetts. It’s a bad idea. Here’s why: it helps a few people to buy into the overpriced market, but it doesn’t solve the root problem of Massachusetts being unaffordable. In fact, it contributes to that problem by adding to inflation.

The bill also seems unfair. I make less than 135% of the median wage in these parts and graduated from college. If I threaten to pull up stakes and move somewhere cheaper, would you give me ten grand?

Instead of paying people to stay nearby, you should focus on making the area more attractive for everyone. Start with an increase in the amount and variety of housing available (i.e. cut back on construction delays and NIMBY roadblocks), improve transit and public safety, and work to foster community relations between locals and universities so that people have friends and social networks to keep them in town.

I encourage you to scuttle this bill and focus on something more useful to the commonwealth.

Thank you for your time.
Aaron Weber
Somerville, MA

3 thoughts on “I haven’t sent a strongly-worded letter in a long time”

  1. Spot on. Problem is, the politicians don’t want to do anything to increase the supply of any sort of housing.

    Add more affordable housing? That would increase crime, drive down property values, and alienate property-owning voters.

    Add more housing for families? That would increase the public school enrollment, which would require construction of new schools, and that alienates property-tax-paying (i.e. property owning) voters. Moreover, increasing the population will increase the load on civil infrastructure: water, sewer, garbage collection, road congestion. All that will decrease the standard of living for people who are already here.

    Add more housing of any sort at all? Well, increase the supply, all other things being equal, and you decrease the cost. That would tend to lower property values, which would alienate property-owning voters. Far better to have *less* housing. Tear down some starter homes, merge the lots, and build a McMansion on it. That will help keep property values high!

    What we have right now is exactly what much of the electorate wants, and I don’t see things changing for a while. People who can’t afford to live in a community don’t vote in that community.


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