A zoning fix won’t fix anything

Homes in South Boston

Re “Tearing down the ‘paper wall’ against new housing” (Editorial, June 10): The Globe posits that a “paper wall” (as described by a new housing study) limits new affordable housing. Yet the zoning solution proposed would discourage and increase the cost of affordable housing. The “paper wall’ is a symptom, not a cause. The cost of local education is the majority of most local budgets and drives community planning. New housing brings less revenue than the cost of new students. It disproportionately burdens those least able to afford it. This is because local communities are required to raise revenue to fund these costs by regressive real estate taxes that are not based on income. Overrides become necessary and uncertain. When regressive local revenue is raised, it often, alone, makes moving to the community unaffordable, even if there is available housing. Changes to zoning will not address this problem, and, by itself, will make it worse. If the Commonwealth paid these increased costs from its income tax revenue to solve a Commonwealth-wide issue, or at least allowed local communities to use local income tax-based funding for some or all of their budget, the issue and barrier to affordable housing could be reduced. It’s time to connect the dots and find solutions.

Bruce A. Leicher