Dear Friends and Neighbors,
First, I want to thank everyone who attended the Coffee and Conversation events on Saturday, Feb. 16. At both venues, we were at or near max capacity, and we all engaged in thoughtful conversations on a variety of topics.
If you weren't able to attend one of those events, I hope you'll consider joining me, Sen. Hans Zeiger, Rep. Kelly Chambers, and your fellow community members at our next Coffee and Conversation event in a few weeks. Here are the details:
Saturday, March 16
Civil Air Patrol Building
16915 103rd Ave. E.
Puyallup, WA 98374
Policy Committee Cutoff
As I mentioned in my last update, Friday was Policy Committee Cutoff. This means most bills that did not pass out of the policy committees to which they were referred are now considered “dead” for the remainder of the legislative session. Bills deemed necessary to pass or implement the budget were exempt from the deadline, however.
Two of my bills survived this cutoff, which you can learn more about below.
This Friday, March 1, is Fiscal Committee Cutoff, which means all of the bills that survived last week and were referred to fiscal committees must pass out of those committees, or be considered “dead” for the year.
Increasing the supply of affordable housing
I'm excited to announce one of my bills that would help increase the development of affordable housing throughout the state was unanimously approved by the House Housing, Community Development and Veterans Committee on Friday.
According to a recent study, the Washington State Housing Finance Commission hasn't been doing enough to involve for-profit, or private, developers in the 9 percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC), which provides tax incentives to builders of affordable multifamily housing.
The study also found private developers could develop the same unit for 13 percent less than nonprofit builders, and 22 percent less than governmental agencies. Despite this, private developers haven't participated in the LIHTC since 2013.
That's like benching your star athlete. My bill (House Bill 2010) seeks to get all of the players on the field so we can address our state's housing shortage.
Learn more about this legislation, and another bill I sponsored targeted at affordable housing by watching my recent video update.
Giving back to our veterans
In my first update to you, I shared details about my bill that would allow veterans with a 70 percent disability rating or above to receive license plates at no cost. Current law only allows veterans with 100 percent disability rating to qualify.
The bill is scheduled for a vote of the House Transportation Committee on Wednesday, and I hope it will receive full support.
This bill is just one way we can give back a little to those who have given a lot.
Reforming Sound Transit and making transportation affordable
For several years, I've been hearing concerns from community members and Western Washingtonians about Sound Transit and the skyrocketing cost of car tabs. This year, I cosponsored three bills that would hold Sound Transit accountable to you, the taxpayer, and would help reduce transportation costs.
House Bill 1868 — would allow cities and counties to opt out of a Regional Transit Authorities taxes.
House Bill 1956 — would change the board of a Regional Transit Authority, including Sound Transit's Board of Directors, from appointed to directly elected to make it more accountable to voters.
House Bill 2021 — would tie the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET) to a vehicle's Kelley Blue Book value rather than the inflated formula that's currently used.
Sadly, the majority party has not scheduled hearings on any of these bills.
I want to hear from you about these above proposals, and any other bills before the Legislature. You can contact me by visiting my website at RepresentativeChrisGildon.com, sending me an email at Chris.Gildon@leg.wa.gov, or calling my office at (360) 786-7968.
It's an honor serving you!