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Published on Friday, March 22, 2013

Mandatory deferral of impact fees to be heard in Senate committee

ESHB 1652, opposed by AWC and many school and fire protection advocates, has been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Governmental Operations committee on March 28. We will continue our opposition and we’re asking cities with members on the Senate Governmental Operations committee to contact their Senators. Some suggested talking points are below.

We have a great deal of sympathy for our builders and the challenges they face in this difficult economy, but this bill is a wholly unnecessary mandate and pre-emption of local authority that should not move forward. Here’s why:

  • This bill pre-empts local control, and involves local funding – not state funding. We believe the Legislature should have a very good reason to pre-empt local control and discretion, and we simply don’t believe that is the case with ESHB 1652.
  • Cities already have discretion to delay or defer impact fee collection, and more and more are doing that. Other cities have chosen other avenues to try to help builders, including reducing their fees (or keeping them low), reducing permit approval times, streamlining processes for permits and inspections, and more. When you contact your legislators, let them know what steps your city has already taken to try to help builders.
  • There is no data to show that impact fee deferrals drive new housing starts. Let cities work with their local builders to determine the best strategies to kick-start home building.