Affordable housing work in jeopardy

Washington state’s housing problems spurred the creation of a housing-policy committee in the 2019 legislative session. However, tax efforts by legislative Democrats may undermine the committee’s work to address affordable housing.

Too many solutions legislative Democrats are promoting to address affordable housing are focused on raising taxes to subsidize ever-increasing costs. One proposal wants to raise the real estate excise tax to fund housing. This Socialist approach robs homeowners’ equity to fund more expensive government housing.

A recent report to the committee noted that non-profit, government funded housing costs 23 percent more than housing built by the private market. I offered amendments to prohibit more taxes to pay for government regulation instead of providing housing for people were rejected.

The Democrats seemed determined to undermine any approach to provide families with children a home of their own. They seem intent on cramming them into homeless camps, tiny homes and low-income government projects.

The Association of Washington Cities recently recognized my work in the committee and his legislation creating what he is calling “housing affordability zones.” Senate Bill 5802, which received a public hearing Feb. 20, would provide incentives to cities to lean into affordable-housing development with exemptions from fees and limits on building permits.

An official with the Association of Washington Cities says my proposal is “one of the only ideas that have been advanced this session that would directly promote private single-family development meeting a more affordable price point.”

I’m really concerned because while we are trying to tackle this self-imposed affordability crisis, some think the answer is to keep adding costs to housing. You don’t make housing more affordable by adding more taxes and regulations on housing.