New State Tools For More Affordable Housing In Eastern Washington?
We've all heard about the high cost of housing in the Puget Sound area but start looking around the Yakima Valley and you may be in for a little sticker shock here as well.
Affordable housing is at the center of concern for 13th District State Senator Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake. She has introduced legislation to boost affordable housing production east of the Cascade Mountains under a local infrastructure investment program. In a press release Warnick alerts us to Senate Bill 6328, which has strong bipartisan support and was approved by the Senate Housing Affordability and Stability Committee, now awaits action by the Senate’s budget committee.
“We need to give local jurisdictions more tools to meet affordable housing needs in their communities,” said Warnick. “My proposal allows for local jurisdictions to create an options infrastructure program, not more taxes or mandates, to help build needed housing.”
A companion bill, House Bill 1938 has been introduced in the House by Rep. Mike Steele, R-Chelan. “We know there’s a problem in many areas of the state because of rising home prices. Even people making a decent wage like teachers, nurses, administrators and others are being priced out of the market,” said Steele. “It’s time to ask the question: What are some ways we can help lower the costs?”
The way the program would work is that cities and counties could apply to get back a portion of state's sales tax on the construction of affordable housing. The jurisdictions would need to adopt local policies creating the infrastructure program, which would be limited to designated revitalization districts. Localities that choose to move forward with the program could receive a remittance of up to 4.37 percent.
The details of the bill can be found here.