It’s election day in states and cities across the country with almost all the attention focused on places like Virginia, New Jersey and New York City. They offer competitions that are largely expected to have national consequences.
Voters are also considering voting initiatives that could have an impact on the housing market elsewhere and also provide a test drive for more far-reaching initiatives in 2022 and beyond.
Here are a few of the initiatives that voters are considering today.
Affordable housing and ‘outside speculators’
Many of the affordable housing measures to be voted on are aimed directly at housing-sharing companies such as Airbnb (ABNB) and attribute the decline in opportunities for affordable housing to the boom in short-term rental in recent years – especially in tourist destinations.
Lincoln County, Oregon has an initiative to ban new short-term rental licenses and phase out existing licenses in certain parts of the county. A local advocate group claims the rule would “restore Lincoln County’s long-term housing stock by discouraging outside speculators from buying homes,” citing an Arizona study of what are described as the negative consequences of short-term rentals.
Other studies have examined the “Airbnb effect” and found a link between an increase in Airbnb postings and rising rents and house prices in the area.
Colorado also has a housing measure on the ballot. The New York Times visited the city of Leadville ahead of the November 2 election there and found business owners who supported new taxes – with the money to create more affordable housing – because their potential workers could not find places to stay in the ski resort town.
Another place the question is on the ballot is St. Paul, Minn., Where voters are considering a rent control initiative.
Airbnb has rejected the idea of an “Airbnb effect” and says sharing the home has minimal impact on other issues such as affordability. The company has also called for investment in affordable housing across the country, arguing against initiatives like the one in Oregon that would limit where short-term renters can operate.
“Economic justice” measures
There are also a number of measures focused on “economic justice” by a progressive group called the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center.
Maine holds a referendum election today and is considering a measure to establish “that all individuals have a natural, inherent and inalienable right to cultivate, breed, harvest, produce and consume food of their choice.” The measure would be the first in the country and part of a movement carried out by progressive groups to ensure a “right to food” across the country.
Colorado residents are voting for a measure to increase the marijuana sales tax, while Tucson, Arizona, is seeking to increase the minimum wage to $ 15 per hour by 2025.
Other cities and states have tackled the issue of the minimum wage in recent elections, including Florida, which last year passed a measure raising the state’s minimum wage to $ 10 an hour, aiming for $ 15 in 2026.
Another measure that will certainly attract a lot of attention is in Minneapolis, where voters decide whether to replace the city’s police force with a Department of Public Security.
It’s the first election since last summer’s protests, and the Wall Street Journal visited ahead of the election and found voters divided over how much they should reform the city’s police force a year after the assassination of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25. , 2020.
Ben Werschkul is the author and producer of Yahoo Finance in Washington, DC.
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