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What Do You Think?

October 20, 2009

Editor's note: The Herald-Mail invites readers to answer poll questions on www.herald-mail.com. Readers also may submit comments when voting. A sampling of edited reader comments will run on The Herald-Mail's Opinion page on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

The question posted Oct. 15 was: Do you agree with Washington County's short-term "stimulus" plan -- which combines an excise tax credit, a permit fee reduction and a recordation tax break-- to encourage residential construction and make homes more affordable?

Poll results: Yes, 259 votes (33.5 percent); No, 514 votes (66.5 percent)

o "If it allows tax breaks and reduced fees then I feel that it is a much better approach than the federal government spending hundreds of billions of dollars to create more bureaucracy and government programs. Also, it is operating at the local level and the officials behind it are more directly accountable to the citizens."

o "How about a plan to help give tax breaks to buyers of existing homes? This would help some of these people who have been trying to sell their homes or people trying to avoid a foreclosure. What I don't understand is why these developers continue to build when the buyers aren't there."

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o "It has been my argument for years that no one who has lived in the county for more than 10 years should have to pay an impact fee in this county to build their primary residence. Our local government became addicted to impact fees, and when building slows down, they have no idea how to regenerate the tax revenue so they raise taxes in other ways."

o "The permit fees that Washington County imposes are excessive. Reduction in fees should & would not apply only to "fat cat" developers or new construction. What about the residents who want to make small improvements to their home? You are currently required to obtain a permit to change out a light fixture in your home. The permit fee generally costs more than the light and an electrician's fee to install it."

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