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Published on Friday, January 29, 2016

Affordable housing bills face challenges

The deadline is looming for AWC’s priority bills aimed at preserving and incentivizing affordable housing.

  • HB 2395 which authorizes a fee on converting rentals to condos, and HB 2397 which authorizes a housing demolition fee are in critical shape because of industry opposition. Building and development industry representatives have expressed that they would prefer more broadly based revenue sources. Kirkland and AWC are working on a proposal that meets that test which will be introduced as a substitute to HB 2843 to be heard in the House Community Development &Housing Committee on February 1.
  • HB 2544/SB 6239 is a proposal initiated by the City of Seattle that authorizes a property tax exemption program for the preservation of affordable housing. The bill did not pass out of committee last week because of a surprise amendment on prevailing wage. Now philosophical concerns about the approach are holding things up, particularly among the Republicans on the committee. Advocates are working to sort that out.
  • HB 2442, initiated by the King County Assessor, authorizes a local affordable housing incentive zone. It is similar to the property tax exemption program of HB 2544 and is also held up in committee.

We are still working on these bills and have some confidence that one or more of these local option tools will move forward to the next step.