Alarming Exodus of Working Class From Jackson Hole, Wyoming
It's not that they want to leave.
Jackson's "working class" is running out of places to go.
Finding work in Jackson Hole, Wyoming is not a problem. There are plenty of jobs available, year-round.
Finding a place to live, on the other hand...
Some employees will sleep anywhere they can find. Even a piling into apartments.
The cost of living for lower-wage workers is not a new story. What you may not know is how often those workers have to move due to their apartment being sold or the rent being raised far too high for them to be able to afford.
But there is a new exodus from Jackson Hole the likes of which has not been seen before.
According to Wyoming public media, A study by the Economic Innovation Group found that Teton County has the nation's highest per-capita income from assets, including interest, dividends and rent.
"Mountain West states contain some of the greatest inequality in asset income, with enclaves of extreme wealth peppered across the landscape," the study says. (WPM).
There were not many places for lower-income workers to stay before. Because of a booming housing market and prices skyrocketing to levels not ever imagined, there are fewer and fewer places available every day.
It has been common for people to do whatever they could to live and work in the area.
Many workers packed themselves into homes and apartments beyond the legal limits of how many were able to stay there.
The investments have been so good that some older homes, cottages, and cabins have been bulldozed for new developments. There are folks that worry Jackson might lose its old charm.
So is there a solution?
Some hold out hope for a real estate transfer tax appears to have support from more than half of the community, according to a survey by the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce.
Essentially this would be a sales tax on properties sold over a certain amount of money, and those funds could be used by the county to address the affordable housing crisis.
This week, the Wyoming Legislature's Joint Revenue Committee advanced a bill for the tax — the first time the legislature has sponsored such a bill after many years of being proposed, mostly by Teton County lawmakers. (WPM).
Thanks to Wyoming Public Media. They have an in-depth story that you can read here, detailing the problems.