WASHINGTON:CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 2
HOUSING SOLUTIONS FOR WASHINGTON IN 2021
It’s time for the residents of Washington across the state to come together and address the numerous obstacles associated with buying and owning a home. For most Washingtonians, home ownership is out of reach because of sky-high prices and low inventory. Whether you live in a rural area or a busy metro neighborhood, opportunities for home ownership simply don’t meet the need.
Practical, proven policies are available now to address this issue. As a state, we simply need to come together and make it happen.
- Greater emphasis on planning for the housing we need
- Ensuring urban densities for housing are provided near transit
- Providing long-term funding for long-term planning
- Erase Out-Dated Racial Covenants
Read more at: myneighborwa.com
'Should We Say Good-Bye to Gas Heat?'
The legislation is silent about use of natural gas for cooking and clothes dryers. In an interview, Ramel said lawmakers want to transition those appliances to clean energy as well. However, the details may be worked out later between natural gas utilities and regulators at the state utilities commission.
During the well-attended virtual public hearing before the state House Environment and Energy Committee, Cascade Natural Gas, Puget Sound Energy and the utility trade group Northwest Gas Association raised objections.
"[This bill] would jeopardize energy reliability, drive up costs to customers and put gas industry employees across Washington out of work," said Alyn Spector, energy efficiency policy manager for Cascade Natural Gas. "This is not the time to eliminate good paying jobs."
Business lobbying groups, including the influential Association of Washington Business and the home builders' Building Industry Association of Washington, also voiced their opposition.
"As we saw this summer in California, we cannot take a healthy grid for granted and losses from even short-lived interruption of power supply can run into the billions," said Peter Godlewski with AWB. "Shifting consumers and businesses away from natural gas to electricity puts severe pressure on the electric grid as a time when we’re retiring more generating capacity than ever."
At this juncture it is hard to gauge the prospects for the gas heat phaseout proposal. Inslee, who made combating climate change a central plank of his brief run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, has the benefit of large, supportive Democratic majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. But the capacity of lawmakers to get much done beyond the basics of passing new state budgets and dealing with the coronavirus pandemic while conducting most business virtually remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, an assortment of West Coast cities are tackling carbon pollution from buildings independently. Around 40 climate-conscious California cities and counties have already passed laws or codes to require new buildings to be all-electric.
Later this week, the Seattle City Council begins consideration of an ordinance to ban the use of fossil fuels for heating in new commercial and large apartment buildings. The proposed policy change does not apply to single family homes and duplexes because the city's energy code that is open for amendment pertains only to commercial buildings. The effective date of January 1, 2022, is much sooner than the state legislature’s proposal in the same vein.
"In Seattle, 35 percent of carbon emissions are from the building sector and they are rising," Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment Director Jessica Finn Coven told state legislators in testimony Friday. "Constructing homes and buildings right the first time reduces the likelihood of costly retrofits in the future."
The Bellingham City Council has also teed up electrification of buildings as part of a broader climate action package. In an email, Bellingham City Council member Michael Lilliquist said the pandemic had slowed down the work, but it is proceeding. He said city staff were running all of the proposed climate measures through a rigorous, multi-step evaluation process.
"We are not yet at the stage to offer specifics that can be incorporated into an ordinance or program," Lilliquist said.
NPSAR REALTOR® Party Endorsements
As members of “The REALTOR® Party” we speak with one voice to advance candidates and public policies that build strong communities and promote a vibrant business environment.”
We thank all members of our association for entrusting this incredible opportunity to endorse future leadership that may best represent our industry and the communities we serve.
Ron Muzzall – State Senator – D-10
Ron Muzzall’s family has resided on Whidbey Island for over 100 years. Currently he and his family run a successful business on the island. Mr. Muzzall spent 15 years on the board of Skagit Farmer’s Supply and has served on the board of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and Land O’Lakes Cooperative. Ron believes in responsible government and sensible spending of taxpayer money. He currently serves in Olympia on the Ways & Means committee, Health & Long-Term Care and State Government, and the Tribal Relations and Elections Committee.
Greg Gilday – State Representative – D-10, Position 1
Greg Gilday is an Attorney, Realtor and President of a local title and escrow company. His legislative priorities include and emphasis on smaller government, more control at the local level and lower taxes.
As an active member of the Realtor community, Mr. Gilday understands that many of the key factors that drive up the cost of housing include over regulations, redundancies, and not enough incentives to build. These factors impede the growth of more housing that could meet the “missing middle” need such as triplexes and duplexes. He believes that when local jurisdictions have more options towards way to increase housing supply then those jurisdictions will be empowered to do what is best for their communities based on their needs.
Bill Bruch – State Representative D-10, Position 2
Bill Bruch has a strong background in the real estate industry as a project and property manager. His legislative priorities include the support of governance at the local level. He believes that local governments should feel empowered to make their own decisions as it relates to what will work towards providing more housing in their communities. He would like to see state and local governments look towards viable solutions to streamline the permitting process and allow local jurisdictions an easier path towards building out of urban areas, if needed, to provide more growth.
Ron Wesen – Skagit County Commissioner D-1
Ron Wesen is a 4th generation Skagitonian, running his organic century old family dairy farm. He promotes sensible spending of public dollars. Mr. Wesen’s priorities include providing a safe, attractive and affordable community, and the support of development in Skagit county that provides affordable options for new homes and business while maintaining the community heritage and natural beauty within the area.
Peter Browning – Skagit County Commissioner D-2
Peter Browning’s top legislative priorities include thoughtful growth as it relates to conserving the Skagit farmland while looking towards living wage housing options that might include more urban village opportunities. He pointed towards urban villages as one way to reform the states GMA and increase land and housing supply in the county.
Damien Greene- Island County Commissioner, D-1
Damien Greene is a lifetime resident of Island County, spent the past decade serving on the South Whidbey School Board and currently an Engineer with BNSF Railway. His legislative priorities include strategic growth management to improve quality of life in the county while limiting cost burdens to Island County taxpayers.
Dan Evans – Island County Commissioner D-2
Dan Evans is a strong supporter of NAS Whidbey and understands that economic growth throughout the county is vital for the future. One of his top legislative priorities include housing availability, recognizing that this is an issue that must be addressed at the local level of government. He believes that more emphasis should be placed on educating the public on not only the difficulties in increasing the housing supply in the county, but how the opposition to more housing impacts those individuals who might be of lower income, renters or potential first-time homeowners.
Andrew Miller – Skagit PUD, D-1
Andrew Miller is a Realtor, military veteran, and current business owner/farmer in Skagit County. Central to Andrew’s goals for continued growth and prosperity in the county include housing and water supply. Andrew recognizes the importance of PUD working with the county to provide adequate water resources for further housing and economic development along with the need for further high-speed internet development to encourage business and community growth.
All endorsed candidates understand the importance in maintaining a strong relationship with our state and local association as stakeholders in our communities. They oppose rent control, establishing a tax on income from Capital Gains, increased B&O tax, further REET authority being granted to local government, along with opposition towards a state income tax and mileage tax. Additionally, they oppose ordinances or other imposed costs such as requiring the removal of gas appliances or wood stoves that would complicate real estate transactions or impose other similar “point of sale” mandates to buyers or sellers.
Read Washington State University Research & Extension Fact Sheet.