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Published on Friday, February 17, 2017

Two housing and homelessness priority bills pass first committee

HB 1570 increases the document-recording fee (the largest source of revenue for homelessness assistance) and HB 1797 addresses local option tools for affordable housing. Both bills passed out the House Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs committee with substantial amendments.

HB 1570, sponsored by by Rep. Nicole Macri (D-Seattle) passed with only Democratic votes. It was amended to make the document recording fee increase a local option, where counties are authorized to levy a new additional fee of up $50 and keep 100 percent of funds. If the county declines or only uses a portion of that capacity, cities may opt into the remaining portion of that capacity after two years. There will be many continued conversations on the content of this bill as it moves forward.

HB 1797, sponsored by Rep. Joan McBride (D-Kirkland) passed out of committee unanimously. There was encouraging collaboration between the Democrats and Republicans to find a package of housing revenue options they could all support. Here are the three local option tools that were included in the bill as amended by the committee:

  1. Authority to use up to $1 million of local Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) revenues per year for affordable housing purposes for four years.
  2. Authority for a state and local sales tax rebate on the costs of construction of new affordable housing. The funds from the rebate would be used to supply necessary infrastructure for the affordable housing project or to directly subsidize the affordable housing project. The overall intent of the program is to incentivize construction of affordable housing projects that would not otherwise be built.
  3. Changing the optional 0.1 percent sales tax for affordable housing to be adopted directly by the council rather than requiring a vote of the people. This provision would only apply to King County and the cities within.
Categories: Housing, Human services
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