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Affordable-housing boosters may win crucial support from Oregon's homebuilder and banking lobbies for a $95-million-a-year state tax on real estate sales.
A statewide coalition has crafted a compromise proposal for a 1 percent real estate transfer tax, with funds dedicated to housing and construction projects throughout the state. Past efforts to impose such a tax in Oregon were fiercely opposed by a trio of powerful business lobbies - the Realtors, homebuilders and bankers. But a new compromise plan authored by the Housing Lobby Coalition has built-in concessions to win over the homebuilders and bankers.
"With that triad against it, I wouldn't even try," said Portland City Commissioner Gretchen Miller Kafoury. "With two of the three on our team now, I think we have some opportunities that we haven't had."
Kafoury and other affordable-housing champions say skyrocketing home prices are causing a crisis extending well beyond the poor and homeless to the working and middle classes. Business groups also are starting to see affordable housing as a vital issue if the state is to continue attracting new companies and jobs. …